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Terrible Two

Thrill Jockey
thrill 198 - 2008

Thank You is an athletic rhythm/action unit from Baltimore, made up of Jeffrey McGrath, Michael Bouyoucas, and Elke Wardlaw. They are three free individuals, subsumed into a collective form that spits out dank, skittering tracks filled with light and dark. Their new album, Terrible Two, was engineered by Baltimore’s beloved J. Robbins (Yeasayer, Mary Timony, Jets to Brazil) at his studio in Baltimore and mixed by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Celebration, TV on the Radio) at his studio in New York City.

Shortly after the recording of Terrible Two, Elke was drawn by wanderlust and moved to Berlin. Drummers are always hard to find, but luckily for Jeff and Michael, good friend Emmanuel Nicolaidis, who played with Michael in a band called More Dogs (Monitor), stepped in to man the kit. Emmanuel’s heavy but quick, nimble and inventive style was an instant fit and he learned the entire set within a week. With the collective whole once again, they’ve been working on new ideas and are set to hit the road.

The band has been building up a reputation via their live show, which has left audience members joyful, overwhelmed, and ready to spread the word. A seeming telepathy occurs onstage. The band enters into musical dervishes, a union, a breathless chaos that results in one hell of a Saturday night and what seems like a musical fight.

The members of Thank You are longtime friends and musical collaborators, working hard to bring to life their wholly original compositions. Musical ideas are introduced and have conversations with one another, each track filled with new articulation and insight. The basics of drums, organ, and guitar build the foundation, but are augmented by whistles, cowbell, hobo harmonica, snappy loops, car horns, and whatever else might be at hand.

With the new album, building on the template they have created, under the otherworldly guidance of producer Chris Coady, the band has utilized live staples and new compositions to create a fully realized portrait. They sing, they dance, they go far away and come back. The listener taps their toes, nods their head, and smiles, welcomed into their glorious song.

It is safe to say that beat-diggers and electronic artists will have a rich resource in the recorded output of the band, each track having the potential to be chopped and screwed, looped and loped into new soundtracks and sample beds. Don’t wait for that to happen, though. Listen to Thank You and listen to the future now.



  • 1 Empty Legs
  • 2 Embryo Imbroglio
  • 3 Self with Yourself
  • 4 Pregnant Friends
  • 5 Terrible Two