When I first heard that thesistermaria was a one-man prject, the first
thought that leapt into my head was, "Oh, hell. Not another
singer-songwriter." Honestly, to quote Cracker, "what the worlds needs
now is another folksinger, like I need a hole in my head."
Happily, this is not the case. Really, topekamericana sounds not a
thing like singer-songwriter drivel, and much more like the Flaming
Lips' more straightforward offerings (see such radio-friendly tracks as
"Bad Days" and "Do You Realize?"), as well as "Bends"-era Radiohead.
The songs are low and quiet, with synthesizer quietly behind acoustic
guitars and lightly tapped drums. The whole album cries for a rainy day
or quiet night to be played.
Being in such company is heady, and possibly a little too far-reaching,
but Marty Hillard (the man behind thesistermaria), performs all the
songs with such aplomb and restraint, that it all comes off quite well.
"topekamericana" is quite a surprisng effort to come out of such a town
as Topeka, and all the more enjoyable for its surprise.