“Motley” described a famous Crue of lost angles rocking the 80’s. In Milwaukee these days, Thriftones get motley, genuinely. Their distinct brand of folk, rhythm and blues Americana bridges the front porches of Dixie to bonfires of the Heartland, open fields of Upstate New York to city blocks running into Golden Gate Park.
The Thriftones tumble through mysterious carnival music-box time signatures, chiming, then break into swoons well-timed, with pace and delivery of a hilarious stand-up comedian prodding a crowd to laughter on command. Rattling, twanging guitar riffs serrate blues piano melodies, reckoning humble, hard times, down-tempo bluegrass rock by-gone, but not forgotten. Tapping influences faintly recognizable, more as ode than necessity, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, and a few others, subtly register in interludes and bridges, densely covered with original musical elements.
While judgement passed on bands often hinges on they’re musical ability, Thriftones demonstrate that lyrics sung, in key and audibly, can also have thoughtful, wise and poetic content and keep they’re edge. At their Mayan world end show at Frank’s Power Plant, Thriftones’ vocals easily cut the monotony of clanking glasses and empty cackles, in easy harmony with their instrumentation. A balance struck on par with bourbon whiskey, neat.