thayerperiod, ‘Sheep dressed as wolves’ | Album review | Seven days

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  • thayerperiod, sheep disguised as a wolf

(self-published, digital)

Funny but true: when you express the fact that you are different, everyone can relate. It’s a constant in the ever-changing music industry. This universal alienation is the unifying theme behind sheep disguised as a wolf, the latest album from Burlington singer and producer thayerperiod. The project is a hot mess in the best possible sense, a short set with a huge lineup that demonstrates a lot of promising talent.

Like any young artist in gaming right now, thayerperiod is extremely online, pushing his mark across half a dozen platforms. On YouTube and TikTok, he’s made a name for himself by reverse-engineering popular songs and rebuilding their beats from scratch in the FL Studio digital audio workstation. He’s also a prolific artist in his own right, developing a sound that straddles many genres but remains rooted in the melodic melancholy of emo rap.

Being such a serious student of music production is a huge asset. Wild experimentation supported by real expertise make for an enjoyable and often surprising album. As grating as the relentless Auto-Tune can be, thayerperiod extracts a huge range of sound from the effect, sculpting custom chirps to complement each carefully crafted beat. His lyrics range from the confessional to the abstract, often repeated in chorus form as the beats stutter, stop, and morph into something new.

Style sometimes trumps substance here. “Attic” is a lovely, slow-burning track in which the vocals are so washed in robotic reverb that the lyrics become indistinguishable, more a synth line than a lead vocal. And it always works. On tracks such as “OUTTHEWOODS”, thayerperiod offers a long journey in less than three minutes, from a reggae-flavored intro to a monumental, chilling pop ballad. Then it all breaks down into an outro that treats vocal issues like a guitar solo.

The title track is another bold stunner. With guest singers cnri and tip/toe, thayerperiod offers an ode to claustrophobic angst. Not content with perfection, it concludes with a crisp, punchy house passage that feels straight out of the 90s. The confidence here is impressive – and justified.

The same hyperactive genre that makes his songs so interesting inevitably makes a project hugely incoherent. Post-trap R&B sagas chafe alongside rhythmic house moves and occasional outbursts of outright hardcore EDM, like the closer album “Attic [jinz0 reprise].” Still, it’s pretty easy to forgive, because it’s all so well executed.

Plus, his schizoid excess is sort of the point. There’s no reason for a young artist to stick to one path, especially when his mad scientist approach yields such gratifying results. If that creative journey results in some dizzying listening along the way, well, that’s the art. It’s clear that thayerperiod has both the means and the motive to make a big splash in the near future. Remember the name.

sheep disguised as a wolf is available on Soundcloud.

Elizabeth J. Harless