Over Elliott Smith-esque strums of a guitar, Read’s high-reaching vocals force an empathetic gaze to remain as she weaves high and low throughout ‘From Here’ & ‘Thx’ – among others.
Through vigorous octave changes, her dynamic yet feathery voice slices through various instrumentals and pushes itself to the front of the crowd. The content of these vocals is almost self-indulgent: the singer appears fixated on themes of inner, love-oriented aches, which closely resemble the woeful delight of a Joni Mitchell track.
The songwriter’s ability to articulate her emotions is displayed most fervently as she grasps the lines: ‘Sometimes there’s romance, sometimes we’re useless’, ‘What am I doing here? I wish you were here’ and ‘Sorry if lately I don’t wanna fight, I keep waiting all night to go out of my mind’.
Desperate and low, the lyrics are scattered over this album like dead leaves in the snow – melancholic, with a feeling of hopelessness. In spite of being a deeply internal piece, each song is easy to relate to; as listeners, we are forced to remember the wrench of despair that love bestows on almost everyone.
Musically, the album rarely strays from the formula of a weary rhythm guitar with a melody dripped over the top by the use of further guitar work. But when Read temporarily detaches from this prescribed format, and heaves a sluggish bass line in ‘Bam Sha Klam’, or warns of impending doom via the alarm sound ringing in the titular track ‘Thx’, the heaviness of her heart is amplified.
Although she can afford to lean on her vocals, more of this instrumental layering would have strengthened the album’s overall potency. Take, for instance, one of the more striking moments of the album, ‘Out There’, which features a lip-trembling violin as the song pulls its knees to its chest and reaches once more for the tissues.
Thx is a soft and sorrowful piece, with a heavy edge, captivating vocals, and intimate sharing of the very universal experience of grief. Whilst its instrumental aspects could be more dynamic, it is oddly satisfying to share in its depiction of pain.