Thomas Giles – Pulse

written by: February 15, 2011
Release Date: February 8, 2011


Tommy Giles Rogers has a long way to go when not with his band Between the Buried and Me. His solo debut Pulse is a dark and gloomy hodgepodge of well produced, but painfully adolescent tracks that wish too much to be epic and over the top, only to succeed at the latter making for a gloomy, scattered debut.  While Pulse attempts to re-introduce listeners to a rock star, it only provides a musician who still has a lot to learn about simply being himself.

The problem here is not the musicianship, but rather the overabundance of ideas clustered on the record.

Whether Rogers is delivering a guttural growl over a post-industrial wall of guitars, humbly strumming a well delivered acoustic track or laying down overly dramatic rock, there’s no connection between any of it. What is evident, however, is Rogers’ has talent. He wrote and performed the record himself after all. Yet the lack of connection among the record’s many facets hold him back.

What’s missing is an ability to take the stadium sized sound and make it relatable on a non-stadium level, which Rogers has done before, despite it being the biggest challenge of his style. On the surface, these ideas show bravado and fearlessness, but the reality is a shallow record that tries to hard, leaving it up to grandiose guitars and production overkill.

This causes the songs to become predictable, starting with a slow anticipating introduction, followed by dramatic mall goth riffs that crawl along. What’s curious about these parts is that they aren’t as awkward when separated from one another, but only become so in the context they are given. On “Sleep Shake” and “Hamilton Anxiety Scale” this format makes for split songs, ones that cheaply linked parts that could make for interesting songs on their own. The latter ends up developing each part separately and shoots to bring them together for an ending that sparks Rogers’ inner Jared Leto.

Others are plain curious, like the post apocalyptic “Reject Falicon” that replicates a countdown over and over and over with bleak piano and drum samples. Rogers tries to shock with the industrial “Catch and Release,” but it only raises one eyebrow. Voice changer and dulled megaphone screams cheapen the track, further deducting the few creativity points it had.

What’s frustrating is that Rogers does know how to write a quality track, as heard on the record’s most promising moment “Reverb Island.” It builds into its heavier moments, a dancehall version of Muse, instead of jumping into them. Those heavier parts fit in with the rest of the track and it works well. “Armchair Travel” is another example of quality, bringing in a needed level of honesty with pleasant acoustic guitars.

If he translated this kind of thoughtful intimacy to all his styles, Rogers’ solo work would make an about face toward the intriguing. These tracks show the sharp contrast between the few instances that are worth a return and the other tracks that stick out like a sore thumb in comparison.

There are many sides to Rogers. One can pick up an acoustic guitar and strum out a decent tune, such the album’s most honest “Scared.” Another screams in an attempt at shock and awe for the over the top “Medic.” Rogers makes it obvious that he has a wide variety of writing abilities outside what he’s recognized for, and this should be a positive thing. The problem is that the result is underdeveloped and filled with overused moves, creating the sense that these songs have been written before, just not by him.

Thomas Giles – Pulse tracklist

  1. “Sleep Shake”
  2. “Reverb Island”
  3. “Mr. Bird”
  4. “Catch & Release”
  5. “Hamilton Anxiety Scale”
  6. “Scared”
  7. “Reject Falicon”
  8. “Medic”
  9. “Suspend the Death Watch”
  10. “Armchair Travel”
  11. “Hypoxia”