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OBNOX - 'Corrupt Free Enterprise' 2XLP (12XU 052-1)



Bim Thomas is a lucky bastard. Upon settling in Columbus-by-God-Ohio in the early ‘90s, he found himself neck-deep in a killer music scene, and soon ended up as the Ringo for the legendary blues-punk power duo The Bassholes (ask the Black Keys who their influences were and that name will spring up, that’s a promise). Drifting northward to Cleveland as the sun rose on the 21st Century, Thomas landed in the drum throne for spastic post-punk upstarts This Moment in Black History, who even after ten years and a membership diaspora STILL rule the CLEpunk roost, while simultaneously keeping the pulse for other revered CLE outfits like The Deathers and Puffy Areolas.

But now, with midlife on the horizon, when most ragers at least start to slow down if not skid to a halt, Thomas is revealing previously unseen musical gifts that far transcend the metronome. With his band Obnox, of which he is the sole member (with heavy friends when he’s feeling like some company), Thomas has shown himself to be a songwriter of astonishing depth, injecting punk with the soul and balladry it too often lacks. Having become a stay-at-home dad, Thomas began messing around with a guitar, teaching himself how to play and write songs, and damn, he really TOOK to it. 2011 debut, ‘I’m Bleeding Now’, was one of that year’s finest albums, and sold out so quickly a reissue was necessary only a year later. His new release, the double-LP ‘Corrupt Free Enterprise’ (12XU-052), is his 8th in only three years, and his strongest by miles. Featuring 17 scuzz-fi splatter gospel anthems – 12 originals and 5 covers, including Tom Waits’ theme from “The Wire” – that run the gamut from nasty punk flameouts to ardent slow-burners, CFE spans four sides, each of which plays as an E.P. in its own right. Thomas has never shied away from bold statements, but CFE is his boldest and most ambitious yet.
- Ron Kretsch

(first 200 on blood red vinyl, gatefold sleeve, includes download code)