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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006
    The Pennsylvania in Thomas's head
     


    The Wire's interview with David Thomas has got me dusting off my Pere Ubu albums again. And none more favourite than Pennsylvania, a brooding, bleeding gigantic road album. I've never been to Pennsylvania but I've been to the Pennsylvania in Thomas's head and that's an awesome place. As the lyrics, above, demonstrate.

    'Pennsylvania is the space between where you are and where you're going and the roads are no good and the speed limit is stupidly low,' says Thomas, elsewhere.

    The Wire's Phil Freeman says that Thomas's so-called "travelogue albums" 'aren't about the real America in the way, say, Sufjan Stevens's songs delve into the specifics of locale and history. Instead they're about the disjunction between the streets a man walks down and the streets he imagines in his head, whether that gap grows because of the fallibility of memory or years spent away, or some combination of the two':