Day Late, Dollar Short

Cutting his teeth in primordial heavy outfits Earth and Melvins, bassist Joe Preston is no stranger to avant-garde doom. Before he landed his current gig wielding the thunderstick for Matt Pike’s High on Fire, he was the brainchild behind the one-man-band (cum drum machine) Thrones, who has enjoyed two full-length albums and a slew of obscure seven-inch and compilation releases, the latter of which are collected here in a varied – and often head-scratching – display of musicianship.

1994’s “The Suckling” kicks things off, with the bottom-heavy rumble that fans have come to expect from Preston. “Algol” starts like an acoustic track from Neil Young’s Hawks & Doves but then degenerates into a phaser-induced bass solo. The Melvins-esque duo of “Reddleman” and “Coalsack” leads into the Queens of the Stone Age-like “Senex,” with Preston’s vocals run through a Kraftwerk-like vocoder. The Mellotron-driven “Silvery Colorado” plays like a warped forty-five, and “Epicus Doomicus Bumpitus” (a cool Candlemass pun) is a twisted tribute to a children’s TV show. “Simon Legree” smacks of the Fucking Champs prog-doom, and Preston’s Melvins tendencies rear up anew in “Obolus,” with a coda that includes chirping birds, blowing windscapes, a child’s xylophone, and cascading sheets of power-violence. “The Walk” is an ambient piece like Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells caught in a modulating force field, while “Mostos Algos” is reminiscent of the lumbering beauty of Harvey Milk.

The covers are even more extreme: The Residents’ “Easter Woman” and Rush’s “Oracle” (Part V of 2112) are quite tame compared to the comical spin of The Who’s “A Quick One.” However, Preston’s take on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Black Blade” sounds a lot like stoner rock in the vein of Powertrip-era Monster Magnet – very different from the rest of this album and very different from the Thrones oeuvre.

Day Late, Dollar Short doesn’t compile all of Thrones’ rarities, but it succeeds in offering enough gems to educate the uninitiated in Preston’s wild, wonderful music – bunny rabbits and all.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
February 7th, 2006


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