Amps for Christ - Thorny Path (Cover Artwork)

Amps for Christ

Thorny Path (1997)


Amps for Christ is my favorite band that contains Henry Barnes. I do not "get" Bastard Noise. Man Is the Bastard is great, but after a while the songs blend together for me. Yet, AFC is able to play with that line between folk, noise, and just about every genre between. I do not like Thorny Path, however. I realize that this is a pretty early release and I didn't expect it to sound like the newer albums, but I was still disappointed.

The first track, "Cock of the Worth," opens up and with a constant humming which doesn't end until the end of the song. Actually, most of these songs contain humming, buzzing, static, or some sort of onomatopoeia such as "whirring," "weow weow weow" or "kerrrrooowwwww." Putting that aside, "Cock of the Worth" contains a single melody by what I can only guess is an organ (it's out of the ordinary to be able to distinguish what any instrument actually is on this record). After 45 seconds the organ then kind of goes into an improvised solo with no rhyme or reason, which is a reoccurring theme. At least half of the songs on Thorny Path stop awkwardly, such as in the middle of a progression. Vocally, I am actually only sure that three songs have vocals, but I think there might have been as many as six songs that actually contain vocals. In the liner notes to this album, it contains a graph which shows how to achieve the sound that they did on this record. I am pretty sure the graph is provided as if to say, "Never record like this!" Seriously, this would probably sound better if they just hit record on a boom box and then started playing.

However, this record does have some redeeming qualities. Every fourth song is really good once you actively listen underneath the layers of reverb and static. The song "Old Paint" is particularly good. There are a number of songs on here that are decent enough noise tracks, if that is your thing.

I really would not recommend Thorny Path to anyone interested in checking out AFC. You are much better off getting Circuits or Every Eleven Seconds. If you are into the more noise-related songs on other releases by AFC, then you might dig this. Either way, you have been forewarned.