Multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist, multi-dimensional Stephen Thomas captured a legion of fans with his 1997 independent release INANUTSHELL with mock band The Reptiles. The band was composed entirely of himself, a fact that most listeners never realised. It was hailed as "...the greatest psychedelic album never released in 1966," and referred to by one reviewer as sounding like, "...Syd Barrett and XTC covering unpublished Beatles songs."
After a stream of live performances as bass player for both the power trio Sigmund Boo and The Paul Thomas Band, Stephen decided to form a studio band of talented musicians to bring his next album to life. Veteran rocker Jeff Gaynor plays keyboard, while local guitar icon Paul Damon Thomas provides lead and shares bass duties with his brother. Kevin Bernardo, a staple drummer of countless independent progressive bands and recordings, provides the solid backbone to the structure.
Independent folk starlet Tina Vero provides backing vocals along with newcomer Erin Carly, and both can be heard to sing lead on the sea shanty "Running Out Of Ocean," and virtuoso lunatic Dan McCarthy is on hand to provide atmosphere and harmonies.
"[On INANUTSHELL] I was always using production technique to make the guitars sound different, or alter sound in some way. For The Story So Far... I decided to leave the instruments very natural sounding, so even though there are other musicians on it the sound is much more personal, more intimate."
The song topics are also quite personal, featuring the tender love songs "What I Have Seen" and "Opening Up," the introspective "Blowing Kisses At The Moon" and "Clouds Of Green" or quite simply a recounting of travels in Hong Kong with "Tsim-Sha-Tsui."
Humour is present in songs like "Prime Blue" which Stephen claims is, "...the first love song I've written in years!" "Blake On Parade" and of course the Myspace favourite "Treacle!"
"Verona" and "Spider Web" recall a leaning back to the psychedelic music that first brought Stephen Thomas recognition (a genre he says he has not given up on), whereas "Free To Be" and "O, Death (Won't You Dance With Me?)" hint at the superb songwriting that lies beneath the Cheshire grin.
"I've got a whole back catalogue of songs that I'm working through. Some I'll record with People On Wheels, others I'll do as The Reptiles and just to make matters more frustrating I've begun to start writing again, so with any luck I'll be able to release a steady flow of hour long CDs just to catch everyone up to where I am now. But for now, this is The Story So Far..."