Concert preview: Planning for Burial mastermind Thom Wasluck continues to open up

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

With each Planning for Burial album, Thom Wasluck, the project’s lone creative force, pushes his voice further into the spotlight even as his words retreat further inwards.

On his debut, Leaving, from 2009, the lyrics were generally restricted to a scant few lines, which the musician buried beneath dense, hazy cobwebs of guitar. On Desideratum, released in 2014, Wasluck dealt more openly with poisonous relationships, allowing his words to drift closer to the surface, like koi feeding on scattered breadcrumbs. It’s a trend the musician has continued to embrace with an in-progress new album, which he hopes to release at some point in 2016.

“I’m writing more now with the vocals in mind … and they’ve been pushed even more out there,” said Wasluck, now in his early 30s, who was raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania by a mother in sales and a father who worked for the insulator’s union. “These [new songs] might be — and I hate when bands say this — but these might be the most personal I’ve written. To be blunt, I just recently passed 30 days sober. I’ve had a lot of problems in the last couple years with substance abuse and alcohol, and that’s kind of what I’m writing about right now.”

Growing up, Wasluck gravitated toward creative pursuits out of necessity. According to the musician, he was born with an irregular kidney, and between the ages of 3 and 12 he logged countless hours in the hospital as he recovered from a litany of operations.

“I was in and out of the hospital all the time for surgery, and I wasn’t allowed to play contact sports, so I think I gravitated more toward creative [pursuits],” Wasluck said.

Additionally, the myriad doctor visits and the hundreds of solitary hours spent in hospital recovery imprinted an early awareness of mortality on the musician, which surfaces in everything from his chosen moniker to his sometimes-morbid words. “The golden years never happened to you or anyone you thought you knew,” he sings amid the funeral-procession slow “Golden.” “They all grew up to be miserable adults/ Just waiting for the day they get to die.”

“Looking back now I would say yes, maybe [an early awareness of mortality] was engrained in me, but it’s something I didn’t think about,” said Wasluck, who headlines a show at Café Bourbon Street on Sunday, May 24. “There’s not a whole lot of thought that goes into Planning for Burial. That’s the best way I can describe it. I don’t sit and think about things. I just do.”

Photo courtesy of Planning for Burial

Café Bourbon Street

8:30 p.m. Sunday, May 24

2216 Summit St., Campus

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