The Black 100s "Fins" (Independent, 2010)
"render me slow.." ponders Ney Jersey's Black 100s....okay then.
The Black 100s is the nom-de-rock of one Thomas Handschiegel, New Jersey-ite, and folk-minded acoustic troubadour. ‘Fins’ is his 3rd album as the Black 100s, a shield for his own solo acoustic musings; and sonically the album features nothing but Handschiegel’s voice and rudimentary acoustic strumming to accompany.
Folk and Blues styles such as shown on ‘Little Lemon Tree’ and ‘Take The Cadillac Car’ feature heavy on the radar, and Handschiegel opts for a laconic ‘Freewheelin’....’ era Dylanesque sway to songs like ‘Into the TV’ and particularly on the convincing ‘Frances Farmer’s Blues’, while ‘Talking To The Dogs’ suggests some Nick Cave style humour, darkness and dismay amongst the swaggering Blues , but he doesn’t quite have the vocal prowess to pull it off to its full potential.
Handschiegel has some interesting song ideas, but over the course of a whole album with absolutely no arrangements whatsoever to speak of, the mono-paced, and supremely basic presentation of them all renders the album a fairly doleful and ultimately arid collection. The songs on ‘Fins’ all sound like rough demos of really quite promising material, rather than the sharp and vicious shapes of the finished article they could potentially be.
There are a hundred and one singer songwriters out there who can tear your heart out, make you laugh till you choke, pierce your soul forever or make you fall in desperate enduring love with just a voice and acoustic guitar. The Black 100s aren’t able to reach those dizzy heights on this album. However, it would be great to hear what else Handschiegel has to offer, instead of restricting himself, sometimes to his own detriment.
Date review added: Monday, September 20, 2010
Reviewer: Ian Fildes
Related web link: theblack100s online