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Tiny Pictures [Bonus Track] *
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Ian Thornley (vocals, guitar, mandolin, keyboards); Steve Gorman, Daniel Adair (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Nick Raskulinecz; Randy Staub .
  • Recording information: Lerxst Sound, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Mountainview Studios; Phase One Studios; Sound Kitchen, Nashville, TN.
  • Photographers: Rupert Truman; Dana Abbott; Storm Thorgerson; Peter Curzon.
  • The five-year gap between Thornley's first two albums was alarming, and the opening track does little to dispel the worries: sure, the man roars, and his guitar does the same, but the melody is too sappy and the arrangements too cluttered. Seriously, a children choir? Eyebrows may be raised. Thankfully, there are no subsequent traces of sophomore slump on the album, which, after all, contains many songs written around the same time as Thornley's powerful debut, Come Again. Tiny Pictures rips through a set of rock tunes loaded with everything Thornley does well -- simple and bright acoustic melodies, quick buildups to huge riffs that were invented in the '70s but weren't nuke-powered back then, and, of course, the ever-impressive singing. The music is still similar to Audioslave in terms of mood and sheer rock foundation, but it's also clear that the similarities between Thornley and Nickelback don't end with their Canadian passports: in fact, Chad Kroeger co-wrote "Your Song," although it's not the best cut on the disc. Nickelback appear to be busy preparing the ground for Kroeger to take "predictability" as his legal middle name, and some of this seems to rub off on Thornley, who underplays his strength as a rocker in favor of some tame acoustic strumming. But Thornley is at his best when he's all-out and loud, and he probably wouldn't be able to suppress it even if he tried, and so the album sports a satisfying number of straightforward post-grunge cuts, sometimes catchy as hell ("Man Overboard"); some of the lighter cuts work well, too, such as the country-tinged "This Is Where My Heart Is." All in all, Thornley may have failed in his self-professed goal of creating an album that would reveal new layers of sound on each spin, but he did what he really had to: produced a gripping heavy rock record that doesn't wear thin on the first two listens. ~ Alexey Eremenko
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