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Now Hear This: The Wall - David Thompson

Rating: **1/2

If you spent some time in the Philly indie scene in the early 2010s, you might remember a band called Big Tusk.They didn’t make a big splash, and one of the Tuskers, David Thompson, spent a few years away from the music biz organizing in his community. Now that he’s locked down like the rest of us, David Thompson is reconnecting with his inspirations and his influences.

Watch video for "time" on YouTube below:

It took me a couple listens to get into the newo 5-song EP, “the wall,” but I got there. If you accept it as a slice of fun in a home studio (as opposed to viewing it as ‘important’), then the almost-demo quality of the recording plays as charming, and you can appreciate the attempts at importance.

And a few years connecting with the issues of the street may have in fact made him a better songwriter. Already gifted with an expressive, if thin, singing voice, as a lyricist he shows promise.

In fact, the EP’s title cut starts with the words, “Landlord try to take my home away…,” so Thompson is clearly bringing an open-eyed perspective informed by his non-musical life.

Even if the lyrics could use a bit more nuance, and a little less ‘concrete poetry,’ the music is effective. For example, the album’s strangest lyric, “This Goon Can’t,” has some of the EP’s most intriguing sounds, almost reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys at their most arch, or maybe an unfinished Style Council track.

The last track, “Obsession,” is probably the least interesting, sounding like it could play under a montage from some random 1985 Molly Ringwald movie. But even this ‘lowlight’ is hummable, and you may have the ending stuck in your head for a while.

Is the EP derivative? Or influenced. Potato. Potahto. This is a very self-assured record. Thompson knows his way around a studio, and he has definitely listened to a lot of Talking Heads, but if nobody’s using that lane, why shoudn’t he fill it?

This is a solid effort, but in time, on future releases, David Thompson could become a significant artist. I’d definitely say this EP is worth checking out, if only so that when he breaks later, you can say you saw it coming.

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