Call it layered, indie prog-rock if you must. Or David Bowie channeling a Texan with anger issues. Try Love & Rockets covering the most vicious songs Elvis Costello ever wrote, or Bob Mould leading a more restrained and catchier ELO? Pinning it down is gonna be harder than you thought. Thinktankubator is the product of a musical omnivore, a multi-instrumentalist with a symphonic approach, and a lyricist whose playful way with words seems constantly at war with his massive grudge against the world. Dark, indeed often chilling, it’s an album that rewards each further listening, as layers of guitars reveal hidden melodies and a previously unnoticed line reveals itself to be a subtly clever bit of vindictiveness.
And Bonedome singer/writer/producer Allan Hayslip didn’t purchase the experiences behind the layers cheaply. No, those layers are the product of couple of decades at the sides of some of Dallas’ finest musical craftspeople, folded together with decade from another life as a schoolboy chorister and orchestral violinist, and for years generously glazed with dreams, folly and heartbreaks generously given and got. Cooked up in a place like Dallas, this all seems like a cliché recipe for another tortured country/western epic, but in Allan’s meaty hands the music is worked into a forward-looking rock monument that pays equal tribute to his past, predecessors and peers.
Allan’s friends and peers, fellow coveted sidemen from all stripes of Dallas music, have stepped up to add their own layers to Thinktankubator and to the live band that supports it. The only requirement: they must do something they don’t normally do. Gerald Iragorri (drums) was Allan’s primary working partner for the record, making sense of the rhythm tracks and building the foundation for everything else; Gerald’s previously under-appreciated singing will be fully exploited in the live band. Ed McMahon (guitar), is heard on almost every track of the Bonedome record, and adds baritone guitar to his arsenal for the live band. Paul Williams (guitar, vocals) brought his superior melodic sensibility to the tracking and his ears to the mixing of the record; he’s enjoying a rare opportunity to play some rock and do a lot of singing in these vocal-heavy tunes. Dave Mabry, famous in Dallas as a drummer, now adds bass-playing and singing to his resume for the live Bonedome band. Among the remaining contributors to the record, including Chad Stockslager, Jonathan Lacey, Gregg Prickett, and Colin Boyd, all are capable band leaders who managed the temporary inversion to sidemen, to the lasting benefit of Thinktankubator.
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