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Thomas Nöla & the Black Hole – Monoliths

Thomas Nöla & the Black Hole

This disc is one of those items that threw me back to before I began writing for Heathen Harvest. The former friend who had introduced me to the site had shown me The Doctor, Mr. Nöla‘s low-budget film that features Douglas Pierce. I had little experience with experimental film at the time, and did not know quite what to make of it. The premise was promising enough, the abstractness of it was interesting, but the acting was terrible. It became near unbearable as it went on, and while I have no problem sitting through things that make no sense to me, the acting on everyone’s part was so embarrassingly bad that I dismissed it completely. Fast forward to 2013, and a package comes to me with this release set at high-priority. I was impressed at first listen. I am still impressed, very much so, because it is such a hard contrast to the lackluster film that I was made to watch at some maniac’s apartment.

Thomas Nöla

Thomas Nöla

This album is amazing. It is so close to the vein of The Birthday Party as well as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds that the proverbial heroin needle manages to pop through just enough to get the drug in, and it feels pretty satisfying. The work runs through a range of styles that initially confused me, but it was so entertaining that I didn’t quite mind the challenge of trying to pin down its genre. I left that for when I reviewed it. The blending of very spot-on New Wave, Chorus-flavored guitars and bright synthesizers, the air of Cabaret, and the sometimes languid but romantic Chansonesque feel come together in such a way that makes me envy the production, but makes me quite grateful Monoliths came my way. “Reptiles like us” immediately shines with that very classic of vibes that piano and organ put forth, while the jangle of the guitar skips along in a merry jaunt. It strikes me how the lines are blurred between a sort of optimism and melancholy. It is uplifting, but not without a sense of mystery and nostalgia.

Right after that track, “Happy New Year from the New World” is another selection that grabs you by the tie and swings you around in a warm Eighties cloud that personally made me pine for days that never belonged to me. How I sometimes loathe the fact that I was a mere infant while that decade manifested, but the spirit is still very much alive. “Golem Tango” is like a more up-tempo “Up Jumped the Devil” by Mr. Cave and his Bad Seeds, though less sinister. There is nary a boring track here. It is a solid release, and I will also mention that Thomas’s voice is also essential in making the whole thing work, his vocal stylings are of the baritone crooner type, which I am a huge fan of, more so as time seeks to usher me into my thirties. A fantastic piece! Thomas Nöla the film maker and Thomas Nöla the musician are two distinct animals, and I very much favor the latter.

Track List:

01) Object
02) Reptiles like us
03) Happy New Year from the New World
04) Golem Tango
05) Naives & Visionaries
06) Another Slug through the Idiot Slum
07) The Pursuit of Happiness
08) Plateau
09) Cannibals
10) Schemes
11) Are you in there?
12) Satan’s Kingdom
13) In the Air

Rating: 4/5
Written by: Rexington Steel
Label: Disques de Lapin (US) / LPN32 / CD
Chanson / Post-rock / Lounge