Thula Borah – Live Secretly Review

26 02 2012


This band. This bloody band are too good. It’s getting to the point that I am getting rather annoyed that I have only listened to their music and never seen them live (a statistic I will rectiy tonight).

Since doing my feature on Glasgow band Thula Borah and reviewing their maiden release “Mind River Matter”, which was a great, mind bending album, they have released their second E.P. “Live Secretly” only 9 days ago. Upon hearing that a second release was on its way I was always going to be wondering to myself if Thula Borah would manage to include the huge amount of diversity into their second release as they had done for their first. Well. They did. It’s a little less sparsely used in this release but Thula Borah still showcase all their talents for writing in different genre styles so well. The initial reason why I have grown to love them so much. They really do write some challenging but infectious music.

I’m not really a fan of doing track by track reviews of albums but I’m going to be doing it for this one as I really enjoyed every track on this release. Usually I find that there is always one or two weaker or disappointing tracks on E.P.s (Cynic’s Carbon Based Anatomy is a great example of this) but this E.P. is chock full of cracking tracks. So here goes.

1 – Organic Paranoia

Following along the idea from “Mind River Matter” Thula Borah kick off the album with another instrumental piece. However, Organic Paranoia is worlds apart from the opening track on MRM “Oppenheimer I”. Organic Paranoia kicks off with waves of synth flowing through the opening passages. It’s pretty much the last thing I was expecting from this track. Then (and this is what I really love about this song) a programmed drum beat kicks in giving the song a sort of electronica feel to it. So pretty much straight away Thula Borah have added another aspect and genre style to their music (as if there wasn’t enough already). The usual post-rock vibe does begin to kick in and when it does it really turns this track into a soaring epic of an opener. It sets up the album nicely and I do love the way Thula Borah look like they choose to kick of all their releases. With a strong instrumental track.

2 – Skye Falling

The dynamic shift into “Skye Falling” is quite cool. It drops you into some laid back acoustic guitar and vocal arrangement for the first minute but right after this you are thrown face first into a straight up rock track. The musical arrangement is prretty amazing here. It is a mostly acoustic oriented track but there are some fantastic post-rock inspired reverb wails throughout the track and I felt completely at home when the band launches you into the chorus with some crushing guitar and bass parts. I was put in mind somewhat of the track “Shimmer” off Mind River Matter and this track kind of felt like a natural progression from that track. Some great vocal harmonies and amazing musical dynamics really make this track.

3 – Murder

And so we kick off the first of three epic 8 minute plus tracks. “Murder” is actually my favourite track off this album for one, slightly bizarre, reason. It’s very minimalist and I love that. I tend to get quite bored and tired of minimalist arrangements of music but this track really impressed me. There is just enough going on in this track to keep me hooked and some of the songs aspects are really cool. I’ve grown to appreciate the vocals that are harnessed in Thula Borah recordings. It fills out the tracks more and adds another dynamic to their sound. This is very much the case with Murder. There is some guitar work in this song that can only be appreciated in this but every pales into the background when the vocals kick in. Graceful vocal passages allow the song to flow very evenly and they add to the overall minimalist feel of the song.

4 – (Null Interface)

This is pretty much the ultimate chill out track. This song encompasses everything that TWDY’s “Tunnel Blanket” should have been. Yes, a bit droney is good. But over the quiet, droning guitar sounds the other instruments are allowed to speak and deliver dynamics that really build the song up into a fuller track. (Null Interface) is also a perfect example of how post-rock music should be executed. Great sections of flowing, chilled out music followed by not one but TWO bruising built up sections of lovely noise. The perfect track to wind down to

5 – Violence is Forever

A big fat 9 minute song to close over this cracker of an E.P. I really appreciate a nice, long song on any release and this one delivers. It kicks of in a musical style that is pretty similar to the third track Murder. With seren vocal patterns but then it shoots off in a different direction. A bass line with a rather punky crunch to it kicks in and you know what you are in for. Some serious post-rock purity. I bsolutely love that this song seems to be one track split into two different sections but it works together a s a whole so well. The first “half” as mentioned does have the overall feel of the last two tracks. The second “half” encompasses all previous ideas used in the album all at once. Passages in which the acoustic guitar is brought back in, vocal harmonies soaring over the music are present but most importantly that lovely post-rock kick into a section of soundscape. The end of the song is majestic. It’s got the feel of Explosions in the Sky and I feel that it was a perfect way to close out the recording. On a high. And it left me on a high. And with a stunned expression on my face.


This band are rapidly becoming not only my favourite Glasgow band but my favourite band in general. They are playing at the second night of The Breadcrumb Trail tonight and I strongly advise that you go along and see them. I’ll be there. Front and centre. Soaking all the mental goodness that is Thula Borah.

You can download “Live Secretly” from the bands BandCamp site ( on a pay what you want deal (if any millionaires are reading donate a huge chunk of money and do the right thing) and I cannot speak highly enough of this release. It was simply brilliant. Hats off to Thula Borah for releasing such a strong E.P.




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