WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM THOMAS CHARLIE PEDERSEN – EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS
Third solo album “Employees Must Wash Hands” from Thomas Charlie Pedersen, the guitarist, vocalist, and pianist of Copenhagen alternative rock band Vinyl Floor, is a testament to his musical versatility and creativity.
Beginning with the track “Yesterdays And Silly Ways” there’s the instantaneously cheery style of Vinyl Floor reflected in Pedersen’s solo work, as well as the folk-rock sound that suitably accompanies it.
With a merry rhythm and playful lyricism looking at life and its ups and downs through a light-hearted lens “Employees Must Wash Hands” sets itself up to be a humorous and easy-going listen.
The following track “Oh, Whatever” is unsurprisingly as laidback as its title suggests, and winding layers of acoustic instrumentation across the record particularly on numbers such as “Worry Beads” and “Slow Passage” promise comfort to its listener as well as a much-needed celebration of slowness.
Some of the absolute highlights on “Employees Must Wash Hands” are the tracks that really fall into this soft, acoustic style. “Coarse Rasp of Yore” is a homely and layered folk track with some beautiful and intricate guitar passages that create a soothing atmosphere.
The track “You Can’t Have It Both Ways” is the equivalent of a warm hug in music form with honest lyricism recognising the confusion of human emotions. Both are simplistic in their structure and lyricism yet delicately and thoughtfully put together.
Another stand-out from the album is the number “Night of Stars”, a nostalgic piece that draws inspiration from the beauty of nature and feels like a gentle closing of a chapter.
Although there is a distinct relaxed attitude to life that flows through “Employees Must Wash Hands” Pedersen successfully saves the album from becoming at all repetitive with his versatile use of instruments and experimental touch.
Tracks like “Rains On Saturn” bring in Pedersen’s talents as a pianist as well as his brother and fellow band member Daniel Pedersen’s production skills whereas other tracks such as “Sooner Than You Think” surprise the listener by introducing electric guitar and rougher, more folk-rock style.
Unexpected instruments such as the accordion and the organ are brought into the mix on multiple songs demonstrating that Pedersen isn’t afraid to switch things up whilst still sticking to his own distinct style. This is the mark of a seasoned and well-rounded artist.
Despite its many impressive features, a criticism I do have of “Employees Must Wash Hands” is on the length of the tracks. Whilst having fifteen tracks on the album doesn’t make it at all unbearably long as most the tracks are very short in runtime usually lasting under three minutes this holds a lot of the songs back from fully developing. Songs such as “Rains On Saturn” and “Sooner Than You Think” should be highlighted due to their experimental nature but never quite build up to a crescendo or reach their full potential because of the short runtime.
Instead of having a lot of very short tracks that feel cut off too soon, this record would have benefitted from longer more developed songs to allow the listener to really sink into the record’s diverse sound. Despite this, “Employees Must Wash Hands” is still an engaging and artistic display of Pedersen’s hybrid musical world.