Though the press notes don’t mention it, this album is steeped in mid-late seventies Tangerine Dream. The Thicket is a Canadian studio-based duo comprised of Andrei Poukhovski and Ivan Poukhovski-Sheremetyev – a father and son collaboration. Using an assembly of analogue and digital synths, as well as the unusual addition of the Theremin, this duo of Russian origin create a musical landscape that – at times – makes you swear that you’re back in the seventies listening to Tangerine Dream or one of the many instrumental electronic groups of the time.
There is also a somber coldness to the music, with its dense symphonic drone. I’m reminded of the cold-wave sounds of 4AD bands like This Mortal Coil. The real treat with The Thicket, however, is the use of Theremin, which used in the doses found here, would seem almost prehistoric. Yet, with careful integration into the music, The Poukhovski team have managed to make an outdated sound seem fresh and contemporary.
The songs on the CD range from four to nine minutes, most in the eight minute range, thus providing the musicians time to explore many themes within one piece. This musical complexity allows The Thicket to become more progressive. Rather than simply repeat or build on one theme, they incorporate many changes throughout a single song and this separates them from the current crop of synth-based modern “space-rock” bands.
“Snow”, one of the CD’s best songs, even has some edgy guitar, and a double-time bass drum which steers the sound closer to the prog-metal forum. But, with all the changes, even this song has many sounds.
The Thicket does have vocals in the occasional song, even using – in outrageous manner – death-like growls - in one instance. I feel the vocals are the music’s weakest link as neither Andrei or Ivan have any real strength in their delivery. But we’re talking about only a few songs, and both “Sunday” and “Beautiful Calamity”, being vocally based, have decent melodies and instrumentation, and well structured arrangements, to allow for an enjoyable listening experience.
The Thicket was probably a home recording. Like many Indie bands who can work out of their own home, it has a thinner, less sophisticated sound. However, the symphonic layering of synths are well executed and this band does take professionalism to heart. If you like electronic instrumental music, with a definitive 70s European sound, you should like The Thicket.