Thomas and the Work-Men: Speak in the Vernacular, Pt. II
The ground has thawed, the flowers have bloomed, and summer tunes have made their way into my daily listening regiment. Like the flip of a record, Speak in the Vernacular, Pt. II continues the feel-good vibes of this year’s earlier release from Thomas and the Work-Men, Speak in the Vernacular, Pt. I. Drawing from an array of influences, one thing can be said about their latest release with certainty. It’s undoubtedly FUNky. Blending elements of rock, hip-hop, and funk, this well-crafted sequel should appeal to most musical tastes.
As you wade through pools of sax you’ll be met with gigantic grooves, dreamy guitar, and flowing rhythms. Rapped verses make way for sailing choruses you’ll awkwardly be caught singing along to while sitting at a red light. But that’s alright, sing it my brothers and sisters. Their sound gives you the same sensation as the warm feeling of the sun hitting your skin. Or better yet, you know that feeling of a good ocean breeze on a hot day? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Their emotionally charged songs are diffused with uplifting music that instills the urge to dance and toss all cares into the above-mentioned breeze. I don’t know who Maryanne is, but she inspired one hell of a leadoff track, not to mention the killer guitar/sax solo contained within. It’s an ode with the anthemic theme of moving on, a topic I’m sure we can all relate to. Next is “Pre-Love” an instrumental interlude that makes for some of the grooviest elevator music this side of the Mississippi. “Stuck”, possibly my favorite track on the album is another ode this time about the difficulties of not being able to move on. “Vernacular” opens up with a rapped verse before making way for some real shuffling island jams. Closing it out is “SRSS” with its dreamy “ooh’s,” “ooo’s,” and a sax solo that’s jazzy AF.
All in all, it’s an album that you’ll have a hard time not enjoying. It’s fun, relatable, and makes for good listening whether you’re making your morning commute or throwing a few back with some friends. Roll one up, hit play, and don’t resist the urge to move to it.
I’ll also add that I recently saw these guys in my home town of Youngstown, and their live performance was on point in every way possible. They’re tight and give off a contagious level of energy that makes for an awesome time. Not to mention they’re also an impossibly nice group of guys. So if you doubt their performance can match the quality of the album, don’t. They’re every bit as good on stage as they are in the studio. Next time they take the stage near you, see them. Your money will be well spent.