DGCD-24495 In Thrall
Produced by Tony Berg
Released on March 16, 1993
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
DGCD-24495 cover
[high resolution scan]

M ore gilded Americana shaped in the mold of R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw, Graham Parker and (of course) Guadalcanal Diary. Not that I have any idea what Guadalcanal Diary sounds like. It was enough just to get through R.E.M. without punching somebody, so I didn’t need to borrow trouble by listening to more twangy soul-searching and name-calling and cat-mewling. In fact, the only reason I bought this disc is because of the backing musicians: Pat Mastellato (King Crimson), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Alex Acuna (Weather Report) fer ezample. It’s no surprise that In Thrall sounds terrific; if the music were any more polished you’d need sunglasses. But all this polish and stretch toward perfection presumes that people want to take a serious journey with Murray Attaway, and those people make a small minority. Guadalcanal Diary wasn’t a major player, Attaway hardly had the cachet of a Michael Stipe, and In Thrall went quietly into that good night. The singles, “Under Jets” and “Fall So Far,” deserved to make some sort of commercial inroads I suppose, but In Thrall succeeds in toto. Every song is deep, important, powerful and, well, the same. That’s the problem with approaching every track as a duty to make an important statement; it tends to wear the listener down until they feel like they’re being talked to. Attaway is unerringly intelligent, spiritual, cluttered with conviction, and In Thrall finds him in mid-lecture, which would be fine if half of us weren’t still thumbing through the syllabus because we missed the first semester. I’ll listen to this more, perhaps even build a minor mythos around Attaway that puts In Thrall into context, but I’ll never be a big fan of alternative Americana from the ‘90s. If you enjoy the genre, this disc is well put together and the songs are uniformly substantive. He’s a major talent within a rather narrow field, none of it adjacent to prog rock (despite the presence of a mellotron), all of it on a par with the music of Michael Penn, Toad The Wet Sprocket, The Wallflowers and the rest of the ‘90s twangy alternative psych rock movement.

DGCD-24495 gatefold sleeve DGCD-24495 back sleeve
DGCD-24495 gatefold sleeve DGCD-24495 back sleeve


  1. NO TEARS TONIGHT    3:56
  2. UNDER JETS    3:54
  3. ALLEGORY    5:46
  4. ANGELS IN THE TREES    4:15
  6. THE EVENSONG    4:07
  7. FALL SO FAR    4:03
  8. AUGUST RAIN    6:00
  9. WALPURGIS NIGHT    4:09
  10. MY BOOK    4:48
  11. HOME    3:43

    All songs written by Murray Attaway


MURRAY ATTAWAY -- vocals, guitar, chamberlin
TONY BERG -- guitar, percussion, tamboura, Casio, piano, chamberlin, harmonium, optigan, iraqiran
JON BRION -- guitar, mellotron, 6-string bass, vibes, drums, piano, chamberlin
NICKY HOPKINS -- piano, organ
PAT MASTELLATO -- drums, percussion
Alex Acuna -- percussion
Robbie Blunt -- guitar, guitar solo
Jackson Browne -- backing vocal (4)
David Coleman -- electric viola (4)
Denny Croy -- bass (7)
Gary Ferguson -- drums (4)
Jim Keltner -- drums
Aimee Mann -- background vocal (2)
David Mansfield -- violin, mandolin, mandocello, tenor guitar
Steve Nieve -- Wurlitzer (6)
Sid Page -- violin (9)
Steve Soles -- background vocal
Benmont Tench -- organ
Patrick Warren -- chamberlin, keyboards
Chris Lord-Alge -- engineer
Greg Goldman, Brian Scheuble, Joel Stoner and Casey McMackin -- overdub recording
James Guthrie -- mixing
Robert Fisher -- art direction & design
Amy Guip -- cover photo
Dennis Keeley -- photographs

US March 16, 1993 Geffen CD/CS DGCD-24495 lyric sleeve
CAN 1993 Geffen CD GEFD-24495  


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