"Inventive and Romantic" -TimeOut London
"Thomas Truax is that rare beast - a total one-off." -Sheffield Telegraph
"Beguilingly Bizarre" -Uncut
New York City's Thomas Truax (pronounced troo-aks) travels the world singing into a contraption he invented called 'The Hornicator'. With his love for experimentation and oddity, this second full-length solo release may surprise some with it's accessibility and catchiness. It features several new instruments including 'The Stringaling' and 'The Backbeater', a rhythm wheel Thomas wears on his back which he promises will eventually also double as a mechanism for flight. Yet his creativity only begins with these unique instruments which he combines with traditional instrumentation to bring to life some exceptionally crafted, witty and often touching songs. For soulful embellishment Truax brings back several special guests from his critically acclaimed first album including phenomenally talented theremin and violin player Meredith Yayanos (who has played with the Walkmen, the Vanity Set, the Dresden Dolls, Barbez, and many others); pianist Paul Wallfisch (Botanica, Firewater, et.al) drummer Scott Hartley (Liquid Liquid, Like Wow) and Curtis Eller, New York's angriest banjo player, among others.
A stubborn DIY enthusiast, Truax self-released his debut full-length solo CD 'Full Moon Over Wowtown' on his own label in late 2002. It was quickly snatched up by London-based Breakin' Beats for release in the UK and Europe. A three-song 'Singles Club' cd was released internationally in 2004 by the Italian label Homesleep.
Truax is also featured in a new film, 'Instrumental', from director Gabe Shalom, documenting the lives of four artists who make their own instruments.
"Thomas Truax is probably one of the five or ten best singer/songwriters in the world that you've never heard of. His last album, Full Moon Over Wowtown, was a weird, wonderful masterpiece, depicting the struggles and triumphs of the citizens of Wowtown, Truax's imaginary city, and orchestrated with a full array of real and invented instruments. Audio Addiction is sparer, darker and more tethered to the real world -- although in a twisted sci-fi way -- but just as worthwhile.
Audio Addiction's first three songs suggest a concept album about technology, as they deal, in order, with personal audio players ("Audio Addiction"), the Internet's impact on society ("Inside the Internet") and cloning ("My Wife Had A Dream"). Each combines real and specific details with wild surreality. "Inside the Internet" starts with that logging-on sound, and the plaintive comment, "I used to have these friends / that one day up and went / inside the internet / and when I miss these friends / I just do a search for them / inside the internet." The melody is buoyant and music hall-ish, yet the tone is indescribably creepy, Truax's voice echoing, all alone, against a backing of guitar and drums. Alienating? That's clearly the point, as Truax observes, "I might not even know if they died / their web sites would still be hanging up inside / the internet." "My Wife Had a Dream", which follows, is more explicitly fantastic, telling of a clone created to keep the character's wife happy while he's gone. This track uses Truax's invented Hornicator, a kind of Dr. Seussian wind instrument, as well as repetitive rhythmic drums, tambourine and chants, to create a hypnotic backing. It all crashes to a halt when the main character dies in a car accident -- and then, after a pause, picks up again, louder than ever, as we assume that the clone takes over for good. It's more theater than straight-ahead music, using instruments, voice and even silence to support the tale.
The album's highlight comes next: "The Butterfly and the Entomologist", a seven-minute fable about a wounded butterfly and the traveller who protects her. The cut is almost all spoken word, lit with anxiety by Meredith Yayanos's trembling violin tones. Yayanos also sings, contributing the eerie and beautiful butterfly's chorus that makes the song's central point, "that men and violence are intertwined." The song ends with a murderous confrontation between the butterfly's protector and the entomologist who is pursuing her. After choking the entomologist nearly to death, the main character looks around for the butterfly, who is circling above in the sky, singing once again, sadly, about men's propensity to violence. It's a metaphor, obviously, for all kinds of things, love and freedom and domestic violence, but it's also a fascinating story all on its own.
...None of these tracks seem to be set in Wowtown, and they are, almost to a one, darker and more satirical than the songs on Full Moon. The instrumentation seems less dense, the songs less traditionally structured. There is more spoken word and less singing, for instance, and fewer truly memorable melody fragments (though that butterfly's chorus will stick in your head forever). Still, despite the differences, both albums come from an intensely smart, fantastical perspective that sees the world in a skewed and wonderful way. Thomas Truax is an exceptional talent, unique and resistant to comparison, yet fairly accessible even to casual listeners. Lots of people say they'd like to hear more music that's different, creative and boundary-pushing, but hardly any of them mean it. If you're one of the few, welcome to your own new audio addiction."
-- Jennifer Kelly, Splendid
"Thomas Truax is not of this earth...I still can't think of a single show I've seen that was as beguiling or as charming or as plain bananas as this one."
"The wildly creative and utterly confrontational Thomas Truax is the kind of artist who makes reviewers climb the walls...as they try to figure out exactly what he is doing and who he actually sounds like. The answers to those questions may well be out of reach, as Truax writes and records music that is not easily described or categorized...Like Vivian Stanshall, this man is in a league all his own." (Rating: 5)
-Babysue music review (Babysue.com)
" Thomas Truax gives a lesson in how to combine original thought, beautiful melody and still remain achingly trendy. Each and every track is greeted with whooping applause from an enraptured audience... Another example from this criminally neglected New York scene..."
-Jon Surtees, BBC
"To focus on his creative gadgetry is to do an injustice to his music, his songs hemorrhage beauty as his gangly figure clatters on stage, like the skeleton of Elvis possessed by Otis Lee Bradshaw. ...it's incredible - unique, beautiful and f**king scary..."
- Jonathan Falcone, Do SomethingPretty.com