It’s been 13 years and eight albums since Avalanche, Thea’s fifth release and the album often described as her breakthrough record. The then 23-year-old was writing, post 9-11 with a fire inside her stoked by global anxiety and an increasingly vacuous celebrity culture.
Now, calling upon the spirit of this predecessor, Thea is back with the album she feels takes up where it left off. Although never entirely losing her voice of protest, on subsequent records Thea turned inward, singing songs about the depression she had been diagnosed with, love songs and songs informed by parenthood.
Now, however, she is back with The Counterweight, an album full of passion and disdain, an album that often muses on the rapid change in the social and political landscape that 2016 engendered.
When finishing “The Counterweight” in September, Thea was impelled to look back at the recording period through spring and summer, the tumultuous times that were its backdrop. She reflected onsinging ‘Reconcile’ as Britain voted to leave the EU, and recording ‘Johnny Gets A Gun’ three days after the Orlando shooting.
That June day was also, most harrowingly of all, the day when the world watched the tragedy of Jo Cox’s murder unfold: at the eleventh hour this became the inspiration for the final track ‘The War’, with the first and last verses written about Jo specifically.
Thea quotes “I was throwing a cautionary message in a bottle into the shifting tide, but also singing a reminder that acts of kindness and humanity are never in vain: ‘You can cut that stem, but wild flowers grow again, all you can do is just tend to them and know that you tried’”
“I’d finished the album pretty much. All the shit that had gone down in 2016, the world changing moments… everything had shifted and this song fell out of me on one of the last mix days. The first and last verses directly reference Jo Cox …and in between I like to think it shines a light on these dark days, but also offers resilience.”
The track is also possibly the mission statement of the album, a call-to-arms on the negativity and bleakness of the 2017 social terrain mesmerized by fake news and futility.
The Counterweight tries to be exactly that. A redressing of the balance, a tool of pressure, an exertion of opposite force and as such, a flag of hope.