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Thinking Plague - Upon Both Your Houses  CD (album) cover


Thinking Plague



4.00 | 20 ratings

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4 stars "Upon both your houses" based on a live performance, from Nearfest festival 2001, in front of a quite small audience (1000 sits). It contain TP songs mainly from "In this life" and "In extremis" albums. When referenced to a live album, comes the question if this effort from time and money point of view is worthwhile for us listeners? In this case, it certainly is. This life show could not replace any studio album by the band, but sounds different from each one and has its own uniqueness, because of the songs editing, the sound and the environment.

There are a lot of advantages here but first disadvantage: disappointment to all who expect that Deborah Perry could reconstruct such an exact pitch on stage, as she does in the studio albums. Well, she did not. But we have to consider that the album is based only on one show and there are no overdubs. At the start, her voice is not steady yet. But instead of it we get more free, emotional delivery, and she could even scream! Could you believe that?

The rest musicians give an extraordinary performance, from the start until the end. This is probably the best TP line up, featuring Dave Kerman on drums, that apart from considered as one of the best RIO drummers, give an excellent performance here, energetic but never over the top, and Matt Mitchell on keyboards that will shine on the subsequent album by the band, the 'a History of madness' album. And the rest members who made a more or less of steady TP core: Mike Johnson on guitars, (also the main composer and former of the band), the woodwind man Mark Harris, Dave Willey on Bass and accordion and the mentioned above Deborah Perry on vocals.

Compared to "In Extremis", the performance to all songs is warmer, more organic. The bass and drums are well balanced, while in 'In Extremis' they are a bit too loud and front in the mix. The better balance expressed especially on "Behold the man", the one before last track. The wind instruments and keyboards delicate and complicated roles could be easily followed, and overall, the performance to this track is awesome.

Another highlight from the "In Extremis" album is the strong performance to "Maelstrom" which is even more emotional and moving than the version on "In Extremis".

The "In this life" executions get benefits of Perry's vocals, and somewhat better flow than on the original album. The pinnacle of these may be the "Malaise" execution, with powerful vocals from Deborah Perry, and great drumming from Dave Kerman.

Another feature of this album is the middle part which is very interesting and captivating. It contains materials from Hamster Theatre, the Dave Williey's band, which sound quite different from TP although half of TP members participate in Hamster Theatre as well. To this medley also belongs a wonderful adaptation to one of the 'Moonsongs' section, leading by a great accordion play from Dave Willey. Also we get here an improvisation by pianist Matt Mitchell, in baroque style, which lead us very well to almighty "Kingdom Come".

The last track is a performance to one of the earliest song by the band, "Warheads". They all sound really liberated and in good mood here, while doing this somewhat 'punk' song. Great finale to this live show.

So in general, apart from some very few lacks at the start, this is an excellent performance, and highly recommended.

ShW1 | 4/5 |


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