Beth Thornley’s self-titled debut is one of the most professional and fully realized records to cross the DIY desk in a while. Breathless, cool, sexy and just about any other superlative adjective you can imagine, this record kicks off with a sleazy, skittering groove and proceeds at breakneck pace for 10 stellar tunes.
Somewhere between the postmodern rock of Garbage, the alluring croon of Natalie Imbrugila and glistening (but guilt-free) sugar pop, Thornley’s songs are fun and smart. Her voice, which is technically proficient but always used with just the right amount of restraint, is clear and emotional. Bandmates Rob Cairns, Sheldon Gomberg, Rob Disner and Jamie Wollam simmer with energy even on more subdued tunes like the lovely “Talkin’ Like an Angel”.
Her songs have recently been popping up on The Chris Isaak Show and Dawson’s Creek, and I’d recommend picking this record up now before she gets scooped up by a label and everybody on your street has a copy.
by: Clay Steakley, Performing Songwriter
Now, generally, I’m not a big fan of female singers doing their own thing. Don’t crucify, it’s just a personal thing. But every now and then, one comes along who really hits me hard and who I throw myself totally into. Beth Thornley is the latest addition to this uncommon list. Her music is filled with a delightful and most serious commitment to making things interesting at every turn, in every song. Beck is a huge influence as would be Kate Bush, Amy Rigby and, yes, Sheryl Crow. For those familiar w/ Andrea Perry, you’ll find a kindred spirit here. Let’s talk music: Thornley is truly inventive, mixing pure pop with modern rock, trippy rhythms, blues, funk, but it’s all wrapped in a package of addicting hooks and great booming songs that command reaction and attention. Why she’s not on the radio or a major, well, that does not speak well for the latest crop of lame 20-something A&R folks without a clue. Let them enjoy their fashionable addiction to temporary power, we’ll just play this one again and endlessly enjoy!
by: Bruce Brodeen, Not Lame Recordings
This is a very impressive CD debut from a strong band. I can’t help but make the reference to Fiona because I hear a dash of Jon Brion in the mix. There are reminiscent twist and turns in the production and arrangement. But the sound has a lot less brooding and a lot more playful humor than Fiona. There is also some British Invasion retro influence in the sound, a la Smashmouth but Thornley’s nice sweet pipes make it less heavy hitting than that sound.
I guess the point is that I definitely appreciate the creative surprises they use in their arrangement choices because they make the songs much less predictable to the ear.
It’s very impressive that this is a band self-produced CD. Rob Cairns is one of the band members, but is also given production and recording credits. My hat is off to him for getting such a rich, varied and professional sound in the CD. He also shares some co-writing credit with Thornley. But there is no mistaking that Beth is the centerpiece of the sound. She is a strong writer, with many melodic and rhythmic surprises up her sleeve, and a really nice vocal sound also.
by: Stacey Board, The Muse’s Muse
The thing I like best about Beth Thornley is the way she undercuts her own hooks. Just when I think she’s finally cheesed out, she throws in a sly bit. A little wink, as it were. So we know that she doesn’t really buy into the whole major-label pop thing.She oughta, really, because she sure can write songs that could garner loads of airplay. But I’m guessing there’s a wee little something called integrity keeping her from dumbing down her songs that far.This isn’t to say that she doesn’t use catchy hooks, booming backbeats and fuzzy guitars. It’s just that she uses more. These songs are deceptively simple sounding. There’s something behind the facade, and that’s what you oughta be paying attention to, anyway.Ear candy that doesn’t leave a guilty feeling at the end. Thornley has all the chops. Catch her now before, you know, she realizes how much money is on the table.
Jon Worley (A&A)
Beth Thornley is a combination of Pat Benatar meets Sheryl Crow, in physical appearance and in voice. Not a bad combination if I do say so myself. I noticed that she looks like two entirely different people when you compare the cover of the CD to the back. It’s interesting what a different angle of camera captures.
On her self-titled album, she lets her voice mold every song with powerful burst of energy that come right from her toes. Nowhere is it more apparent than on “Don’t Save Me,” where her vocal range is an awesome gift to the music. This album rocks right along like an engine with an endless supply of fuel. The fuel is Thornley’s intoxicating voice and her crackerjack band.
Lyrically it gets as intense as the music. She sings about relationships; unhealthy ones that need repairing. “Lucky You” is a good example of a relationship that could use some work. Words like this cut like a knife- “All that’s left to do now is move in and quit my job. Keep you full of booze and seconal. After all, when your sober your no fun at all.” It is a somewhat sick and twisted way to look at someone that you want to be with that is for sure! This is reality for many people unfortunately. For some reason, the music can make light of even the direst of situations.
Beth Thornley has made quite a musical statement on this CD with consistently witty lyrical content accompanied by superlative musicianship. That potent combination gives her a winning hand in the game life and the world of music.
© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
Beth Thornley is the debut self-titled release from singer/songwriter Beth Thornley who describes her music as “an eclectic mix of melody-driven rock.” Beth’s influences include Beck, Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow. Thornley somewhat reminds me of Pat Benatar in her appearance and extensive vocal range. Beth grew up in Birmingham, Alabama exposed mainly to classical music and piano lessons. She left the south to become an LA rocker. Beth’s music is power packed rock with alternative edges and hints of the blues, ballads and punk. Thornley is supported by talented musicians on this eight-track collection. Her CD is flawlessly produced by Rob Cairns who is also in the band. Beth has high voltage vocals that are clear and concise. She weaves complex webs of deep, sometimes dark descriptive lyrics. “You’ve had a good run. Looks like I’m just in time to retrofit your mind and I’m inclined to take down the open sign.” Well-crafted lyrics are the norm for this capable composer. ‘Lucky You’ also includes an energizing beat and powerful guitars to complete this volcanic track. The opening song ‘I Will Lie’ includes masterful lyrics, versatile vocals, varied tones, funky sounds and rock solid instrumentation. ‘Break U N 2’ is another forceful song with shades of punk, grinding guitars, thunderous percussion and fluid vocals. I happened to like the hard rocking tunes best but Beth’s slower songs are also noteworthy and complete this well-rounded package. Beth Thornley is high caliber melodic rock!