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Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - Strangers From The Universe CD (album) cover


Thinking Fellers Union Local 282



4.75 | 13 ratings

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5 stars For a band notorious for wild flights of fancy and spontaneous bursts of inspiration, this album is uncharacteristically focused, intricately detailed, and consistently incredible. They have built on the successes of their prior album, Mother of All Saints, although the two albums sound worlds apart. Where MOAS was murky, druggy, and slightly mad, this album is clear as a bell, confident, and passionate. The songs are just as challenging, if not more so, and reveal new depths to their songwriting craft.

"My Pal the Tortoise" kicks things off with a friendly quirky pop vibe, building the song out of a series of dissonant guitar licks and a comical vocal. "Socket" brings out the twisted Magic Band guitar mazes, a variety of guitar sounds, and a rather surprising instrumental middle section. "Hundreds of Years" is a gentle tapestry of clean guitar lines supporting a tender vocal, but again, jarring surprises lurk within, including a dizzying section of trilling guitars giving the sensation of bees buzzing around. "Guillotine" is a droning funeral march, swelling into a thick fog of sound. "February" offers some really fluid guitar runs in an odd yet catchy song. "Cup of Dreams" is a woozy melanchoic shoegaze number with a Mellotron intro and oddly juxtaposing Residents-like vocals throughout. "The Operation" is a completely bizarre piece of creepiness, with several very dissonant clusters working together to make a compelling song. "The Piston and the Shaft" is the most normal song on here, a playfully mellow musing on the topic of sex and lust, with a stirring harmonized chorus that gives me chills. And finally, "Noble Experiment" acts as a lullabye for the human race, ending the album on a gentle yet sinister note.

Each of these songs are creatively written, flawlessly executed, and reveal new details on every listen. It's as perfect as this band got -- even the little instrumental interludes (the "Feller Filler") serve their roles well as little breathers between the uniformly outstanding main songs. Some may miss the psychotic messiness of Mother of All Saints, but I for one am glad the Fellers dropped a little bit of the whimsical craziness to concentrate their offbeat talents into one seamless knockout album. My highest recommendation.

HolyMoly | 5/5 |


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