Review Summary: Tooth & Nail actually signed a quality artist?
Remember racing to the embrace of your parents after school to present them with a crayon-coated picture created in class? What many would view as haphazard scribbles and colors creeping beyond predetermined limits, your parents saw a sincere, bright vision of life through the eyes of a young and relentless imagination. This was art at its purest – hardly bothered by execution or reception. Abandoned Pools’ Sublime Currency
is the musical equivalent of this
innocent, enthusiastic expression.
Sure, paralleling the artistic output of the 32-year old singer/songwriter Tommy Walter – operating under the aforementioned moniker Abandoned Pools – to a wide eyed youngster is suspect, but there is a pervasive innocence that fuels Sublime Currency
’s cheery choruses that needs to be heard. Mixing the warm, catchy melodies of Mae and the delicate atmospheres of Copeland, Walter has crafted a record meant for basking in the sunny glow of late summer with arms stretched for the sky, spinning in a careless bliss.
Picking individual songs to highlight becomes quite the chore after multiple spins of Sublime Currency
. This is due to the lush and unpredictable environments Walter wraps himself within. “Hype Is the Enemy” boasts bouncy verses and a sugary chorus that will tuck within listeners’ memories. “Behemoth” glides along smoothly with plodding piano and hushed horns. “9 Billion” glitches with industrial beats and explodes with ravenous guitars, creating a carefully cultivated chaos. “From Long Sleep” peaks with entwining male and female vocals over gentle acoustic strumming and sleepy synths – and that is only a small sample of the sonic range Abandoned Pools explores through the eleven songs offered here. Revealing more surprises would be an injustice to curious readers, as experiencing the album track by track is similar to the open-mouthed awe that comes with shuffling through a funhouse. There is a moment to remember around every corner.
Although the majority of the music on Sublime Currency
could be considered upbeat and optimistic, do not confuse happy content for a lack of songwriting depth. Every track on this offering is worth a listen, with no trace of filler to be found. Walter, recently married, and armed with a renewed faith, challenged himself to fashion an album based on embracing joy and perseverance in the wake of struggle. With lyrics like the opening line of the record, “I can push the buttons/I can wrestle with the phantoms/Till I see that all the best things happen naturally”, Sublime Currency
offers an oasis of encouragement beyond the materialistic and pessimistic content of Abandoned Pools’ contemporaries.
In an age of foreclosures, bankruptcy, and living from paycheck to paycheck, it would pay to check out Abandoned Pools’ Sublime Currency
. For this album is a refreshing plunge into a world of wonder and enchantment. Whether or not you have parents waiting to embrace you in their arms or even a doorway to run through, a spin of Sublime Currency
will transport you back to those perfectly imperfect days where smiles appeared effortlessly, life was just a little bit more colorful, and your best efforts were enough - even if you scribbled outside of the lines.