Album of the Week: Thomas Abban, 'A Sheik's Legacy'

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Thomas Abban, 'A Sheik's Legacy'
Thomas Abban, 'A Sheik's Legacy' (Courtesy of artist)
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It's a rare artist who insists on playing every instrument on their debut record, mixing together a series of intense guitar, bass, drum, piano and vocal performances to approximate the sound of one live, righteous rock band.

At only 21 years old, Thomas Abban has already established himself as a singular artist in the Minnesota music community; he has an ambitious, larger than life artistic vision, a meticulous approach to executing his songs, and the restless creative impulses of someone unconcerned with where they fit in the larger musical universe. His music travels through time, stretching back to the prog and experimental rock of the 1970s. At times, it sounds like it could have been conceived by druids in ancient medieval times ("Aladdin," "Symmetry and Black Tar"), or a wild-eyed poet in Greenwich Village during the folk renaissance ("Irene," "Echo"). In the album's most unabashed moments Abban seems to get lost in his own compositions, faking a cough mid-song or breaking into a unholy wail, swept up in the maelstrom of his guitar. One of the most convincing lyrics on the entire album is a well-placed and drawn-out "Uh" in the song of the same name.

Much attention has been paid to Abban's live presentation, which is indeed captivating: he is nothing short of a guitar prodigy, and his voice cascades seamlessly between a soulful falsetto and guttural moans. But don't sleep on this album, which is impressive in both its scope and sheer audacity. ("My love is fear," he sings, as if throwing down a gauntlet.) A Sheik's Legacy takes the listener on a journey through the dark and twisting corners of Abban's mind, flickering torches lighting the way. It will take years for all of his potential paths to be fully illuminated -- making him one of the most promising new artists to emerge in 2017.

See Thomas Abban at First Avenue's Best New Bands of 2017 showcase on Friday, January 5.

Resources


Thomas Abban - Official Site

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