The new City Center album Redeemer extends the Fred Thomas project from its ambient origins into the wider world of fucked up pop music. The project doesn't shed its skin entirely– there is plenty of gorgeous/supple soundscape that arcs sans verse or chorus over a blurry tundra of texture, but more often than not, these excursions end next to the warming hearth of Thomas's recognizable vocals, buried as they might be. (See “Obvious”, when it comes out!).
But along with listing itself as a duo (now also starring Ryan Howard), City Center is also a song-based project. Exhibit A is “Cookies”, which bridges the unknowable divides between heavy as fuck guitar gnarl, City Center's earliest noise-playfulness, and dare we say the brainy pop that made Sunday Looks Good To Me so popular with the girlfriends.
Redeemer is out May 10 on K Records.