Articles: ST. THOMAS "I'm Coming Home" (Pulse! Magazine - June 2002)

I'm Coming Home ( Misra )

Thomas Hansen is a 25-year-old postman who quit his job when his brittle Appalachian folk-pop songs started climbing the charts--in his native Oslo! Never mind that a tune with a banjo on it would rarely crack the country charts in the U.S., Hansen and St. Thomas rely on the plucky instrument to maneuver through the bumpy melodies on nearly every track on I'm Coming Home. As odd as that seems, the really left-field sense comes from Hansen's unpracticed and quavering voice, which makes him sound exactly like a young Norwegian postman who's decided to write and sing songs. Stranger still, Hansen and his crew fit right into a lineage of independent-spirited artists who've derived influence from hillbilly traditionals, ranging from old timers like Phil Ochs and Neil Young to newer cats like Jeff Mangum and Will Oldham. St. Thomas' rare up-tempo turns, "The Cool Song," "Bookstore" and "Cornerman," are catchy and endearing enough to land the band in such hallowed company, and Hansen's lyrics are plainly funny. Other songs veer toward the ethereal, and the droning "Failure #1" comes closer in style to Iceland's Sigur Rós, and therefore, closer to home. Either way, Hansen's a ready-made hipster icon.

RICHARD A. MARTIN - (rates the album three and a half stars)

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