Then Thickens is Jon-Lee Martin, previously of Fi-Lo Radio and now also of the mighty KONG. This collection of demo recordings was produced last year and comprises of a handful of acoustic guitar sounds and frugal harmonies. There’s this 'recorded in a bedroom', lo-fi approach with bouncing percussion and all sorts of rattles, but every song is a magnificent classic. Each tune has the benefit of Jon-Lees vocals , which now switch from melancholy to full on raw blues - but it’s the melody and atmosphere of each piece that strikes home. “Dead Spiders” uses a piano and delayed vocal effects, whilst “Sleep Warm” sounds like a lone electric guitar, with a Morrissey angled melody and sparkling jangles, that cut right across the main theme. The rock and roll rumbles of “Wonkey Eyes” with interludes of recorder and vocal whistles are inspired, whilst “Spinning Tales” has all the twists and angles of a Fi-Lo track - anthemic and compelling. The electro dabblings of “A Corner Of Colours” are impressive, disturbing and exciting all at once and “Put Your Face Straight” could be one of Frank Blacks best tracks.
This is one of the best solo/singer/songwriter efforts in Manchester and more importantly it has an edge that’s often missing and none of the pretentious “troubled artist” attitudes that create flocks of hype. If anything, Then Thickens will cause YOU trouble and grief with the directness of the songs and the sheer mountainous ability of the standout half dozen tracks on here that could potentially be singles.