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Thomas Truax: All That Heaven Allows

Released via his own Psycho Teddy imprint on 2nd February 2018, ‘All That Heaven Allows’ is the latest LP from the eccentric American songwriter and SEEN fave, Thomas Truax.

In what will be his ninth full-length album, we find the maestro anything but settled. After five years based in Germany, Truax began 2017 in the US, but left again the day after Trump was sworn into office in January. He has rarely stopped to look back from thereon. He got married in March (in Gibraltar) and relocated to the UK shortly thereafter, with a steady stream of tour dates and recording sessions always on his agenda. Along the way, he always kept an eye on the news, an ear to the ground, and a notebook in his pocket.

The result of these travels is ‘All That Heaven Allows’ – ten new tracks of surreal Americana and sonic adventure. With songs littered with trains, flying machines, dreams, romance, shootings, hurricanes, migrants, ‘bad leaders,’ an unfortunate spider, escape, transcendence, alligator shoes and more solid advice from the recurring comforting presence of Thomas’s Granny; Truax’s latest long player is a celebration of life and sound and a search for meaning and hope in troubled, dangerous times.

Given the global context in which this album was written, it is perhaps no coincidence ‘All That Heaven Allows’ also shares its title with Douglas Sirk’s classic 1955 film of the same name. The tale of a middle-aged widow who falls for a younger man of a lower class, Sirk’s film is set in an American community that appears postcard-perfect on the surface, a modern heaven-on-earth, but underneath resents and ultimately ostracises those who do not conform to its strict ideas of propriety.

Giving insight into the ideology that informed his latest album, Truax reveals:

“There are a lot of flying references in this album. In Freudian dream interpretation, you fly in your dreams when you feel pinned down or trapped in your waking life. A lot is happening in this modern world that is so despicable and overwhelming. Because of technology we can be spectators of all of it all at once, and it may be more than we are capable of ingesting. Our fight-or-flight mechanisms are doing overtime, and I see it in my friends and in myself that this can be psychologically paralyzing. We need to dream and escape to maintain our sanity, but we also can’t ignore the very real problems that may be the death of us if we don’t do whatever we can to try to help solve them. The pursuit of balance between those fights and flights is an underlying theme with this album.”

While the new album was very much written against an ever-changing backdrop, in terms of recording process there was, of course, always one constant: Truax himself. Something of a one-man-band and loop-pedal virtuoso, as ever most of the instruments and vocals on ‘All That Heaven Allows’ were laid down by Thomas himself.

However, always one for collaboration when the occasion arises, various tracks on the record are enlivened by a number of old friends and former collaborators. Drummer Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls, Nine Inch Nails, Violent Femmes), cellist Pete Harvey (Modern Stories/Withered Hand), Paul Wallfisch (Swans/Firewater) and James Smith (Post War Glamour Girls), all appear throughout the record to offer their invaluable contributions.

As many will have heard already, on his latest album Truax also teams up with the singular Basildon-born/Berlin-based talent Gemma Ray for the heart-stopping duet: ‘Save Me’. The lead single for the album, the track has already garnered national radio support from the likes of Radcliffe/Maconie and Gideon Coe on BBC 6Music. SEEN has been enjoying this delicately dreamy song with its poignant lyrics. Can anyone really save us?

Stand by for further new music to emerge in the run up to the album next year.

Buy All That heaven Allows here.