Thank You Scientist: Maps of Non-Existent Places
With a name like Thank You Scientist, one might naturally think of something mathematical or based in logic. Images of beakers and burners, measurements and precise calculations, where a single drop of the wrong element could have catastrophic results. Enter a seven-piece musical physics formula hailing from Rochelle Park, New Jersey. Thank You Scientist classify themselves under the progressive rock genre, but it’s almost as if there is a bit of alchemy going on beneath the surface.
Since their formation in 2009, Thank You Scientist has worked hard to keep listeners guessing, and since their very recent signing to Coheed and Cambria front man Claudio Sanchez’s brand new label, Evil Ink, the guessing game has only become more difficult. Complicated instrumentation seems to be something these guys are incredibly well versed in; from the intricate and almost robotic sweeps and arpeggios from guitarist Tom Monda, to the pocket-precision brass rhythms of Ellis Jasenovic (Sax), and Andrew Digirus (trumpet), Thank You Scientist’s sounds is comprised of those previously mentioned elements, along with several others flecked into place with pin point accuracy.
It’s not all that surprising that Thank You Scientist has signed to Sanchez’s new label. Vocalist Salvatore Marrano without a doubt cites Coheed’s mastermind as being a major influence on his styling and range, and at times, Maps Of Non-Existent Places does pay homage to the current kings of the progressive rock scene. As this record is actually a re-release of the band’s original 2012 version of ‘Maps’ it takes on quite a different persona with Sanchez behind the boards. The fusions of rock, jazz, metal, and pop are synchronized incredibly well, and the band’s overall sound is bigger than ever, featuring extremely diverse immersions of all the aforementioned genres in each track.
Thank You Scientist classify themselves under the progressive rock genre, but it’s almost as if there is a bit of alchemy going on beneath the surface.Perhaps the most interesting dichotomy between tracks comes between one and two. The first track, “Interlude,” is a stunning vocal piece that features Marrano’s belting tenor tracked over an angelic chorus following along in harmony. The lyrical content of the song seems to lay the foundation for what is about to come in the lengthy, 10-song LP. Marrano’s voice soars as he sings in a sweeping melody, “Leaving without a trace/ Don’t know when I’ll be back again,” as if to forewarn the listener of the journey ahead.
This harmonious opener works so interestingly with the following song, “A Salesman’s Guide to Non-Existence,” Which drops in immediately with a choppy and heavily distorted guitar section, accompanied with Jasenovic and Digirus wailing on the brass. The heavy-set rhythm section falls out to a clean and melodic verse where Marrano comes back with the words, “Leave without a trace/Don’t know when I’ll be back again/ Time to go/ I’m not playing.” It’s a return to the prior track’s message, repeated for emphasis.
Maps Of Non-Existent Places is filled with shocking key changes, harmonious moments of jazzy transcendence, and tempo shifts and grooves that could make anyone’s head spin. The Jersey septet has truly encompassed the modern adaptation of the progressive sound, with other tracks like the flamenco/jazz/metal tribute, “Blood On The Radio,” and the super jazz/pop/psychedelic instrumental number, “Suspicious Waveforms.” With a progressive rock behemoth like Claudio Sanchez backing them, it’d be difficult to argue that Thank You Scientist is heading anywhere but upwards from here.