This record isn’t even out yet and it might already be my most played of the year. Sean Thompson has been a kind of insider secret for those looking to round our their studio lineup. Having played with shuttered Nashville cult faves Promised Land Sound before sitting in with Curtis Harding, Erin Rae, Mattiel, and Eric Slick, while cropping up on records from friends Teddy and the Rough Riders and Spencer Cullum. Back in 2019 Sean let out a quiet, but near perfect EP called Grown a Raspberry and since then he’s been working up singles and Bandcamp EPs that only solidified the sound he’d hinted at in those early recordings. Still, none of that quite prepared me for how solid his debut might be. The eponymous album arrives storm set and swinging, a rumbling country record that’s devoured its influences, but sets its course by Sean’s own cosmic compass.
From the rope-burn twang of the album’s opener to the softer shades of “Before The Flowers Bloom,” Thompson lets the record wander in the best of ways. He packs a lot of subtle turns into his debut — heat vapor trails of Beachwood Sparks and Burrito Bros, fiddle-thrummed trad country workouts, and King Tuff-whiffed power pop that somehow fits right in. The highs reach for the horizon and kick through the dust, but Sean proves just as adept when the light grows low and the bottle hits empty. There’s a kindred spirit in “Sad Old Singers,” to the laments on the recent stunner from Emily Rose, and he dives deeper, following the kind of JJ-boogie bred night funk that’s been emanating out of Scott Hirsch on the West Coast. The patchwork perfection of the record is its best asset. Thompson pulls at threads of different thickness, but weaves it all into one dazzling debut.
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