About Thomas Charlie Pedersen
Thomas Charlie Pedersen is a Danish folk singer and songwriter who is also a member of the Danish indie band, Vinyl Floor. Employees Must Wash Hands is Thomas’ third solo album and was produced alongside his brother, Daniel Pedersen.
With slow guitar riffs, introspective lyrics, and changing moods, Employees Must Wash Hands is an album with many layers, all of which are pieces of a larger emotional story.
Admittedly at first, I thought I wouldn’t like this album, the first two tracks felt like an attempt at pretending to be The Beatles and, besides the instrumentation, didn’t quite grab me in the way opening tracks probably should. However, the ball gets rolling with the third song, Slow Passage. A moody and emotional song with a gritty guitar riff throughout, Slow Passage is where the album’s depth deepens and sets the tone for the rest of the songs thereafter.
The following track, Rains on Saturn, is one of my favorite songs on the project and embodies the neo-noir ambiance of the album. If Sitting at an empty bar was a song it wouldn’t sound too dissimilar from this, the song is as lonesome and melancholic as the bottom of an empty glass.
Another highlight is Fiddler & the Travesty, a brilliantly written song that I think has some of the best lyrics on the album. “Singing his heart out to no one, he must not sing forever” is a poem that encapsulates Pedersen’s story of a singer struggling with life’s balancing act. The gentle strokes of piano keys contrast the darker lyrics nicely and give the song a great gothic and atmospheric tone.
The second half of the album really shines and has the best moments on the album. The somber atmosphere of Organ Prayer is almost as soothing as it is sad, and the narrative duo between Beach in Vietnam and Stagnant Pools of Sorrow ties up the album’s narrative perfectly.
However, songs like “Yesterday Silly Ways” and “Coarse Rasp of Yore” get in the way of the track list’s best moments with upbeat production that doesn’t fit the rest of the album. I understand that Pedersen might not want to make an album that’s completely pitch black and darkly themed, however, those dark moments are the ones that, ironically enough, shine the most.
Score/Excellent: Pedersen proves his songwriting ability and his brilliant producing skills on this somber, emotional album. There are a few songs I dislike however these are far and few between. The album overall has a lot of impactful moments and is brimming with talent.
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[I rank music on a scale of: Poor, Mediocre, Good, Excellent, Outstanding]
Written by Jake Campbell