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Stump - A Fierce Pancake CD (album) cover

A FIERCE PANCAKE

Stump

 

Crossover Prog

3.88 | 4 ratings

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stegor
4 stars I came across a pristine vinyl copy of A Fierce Pancake by Stump at an antique shop in New Ulm Minnesota. How did it get there? Who bought it in 1988, listened to it once and decided 25 years later they didn't like it? It's been out of print since the '80's. It's still in the plastic!

My first glimpse of Stump was when I saw the video for the song "Charlton Heston" on Night Flight on the USA Network somewhere around the time it was released. I thought this couldn't possibly be a real band, probably something put together by some video-maker. It was such a novelty tune. The singer looked like Ed Grimley. But there was something about it that spoke to me. Years went by and I never hear of them again. But when the internet came around I started searching for stuff from my past - and there they were. First just some vague information about them and eventually the video surfaced on YouTube. So then I decided I had to hear the rest of their stuff, somehow. So to find it in an antique shop in the boonies of Minnesota for 6 bucks in absolutely mint condition just blew my mind.

Enough anecdote, what about the music?

It reminds me of the best bits of Primus, Oingo Boingo, Split Enz, XTC, and Eno in rock mode. The style is like the recklessness of Punk played with the skill and finesse of Prog. The interplay of Kev Hopper's fretless bass (think Mick Karn) and Chris Salmon's guitar is twisted and interlocked, at times sounding like one big instrument with 20 strings played by 20 fingers. Rob McKahey's drumming propels the whole mess with finesse. Vocalist Mike Lynch reminds me of Andy Partridge at his most frenetic. Some of the songs definitely fall into whimsical novelty territory but even they have enough unique personality and instrumental propulsion to keep them from cartoonery.

The production is as good as any. I don't know if it's ever been released on CD, but the vinyl copy I have sounds spectacular.

It's really too bad that these guys didn't keep on, either in Stump or elsewhere. As it is they created a singular cult classic, but they could have done so much more. I'm so tempted to give this 5 stars, but I probably shouldn't, so 4.5.

stegor | 4/5 |

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