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Thinking Plague - A Thinking Plague CD (album) cover


Thinking Plague



3.52 | 36 ratings

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3 stars Obviously I don't own one of those 500 rare original LP's of this record. The review is based on the 'Early Plague Years' reissue CD which contains TP's first two LP's. This album featured in tracks 6 to 12.

The importance of this first LP in my opinion, is the opportunity to notice where all this start from, particularly the first steps of Mike Johnson as a composer. Well this is a very promising start. In the three major compositions 'I Do Not Live', 'Possessed', and 'Thorns of Blue and Red', that takes about 2/3 of the LP, his high abilities could be easily identified, at the melodies, harmonies and structures. It is interesting to realize that most of the ideas that will take major place at the latest efforts are represented here, at the very first works: complex time signatures and frantic syncopation, as opposed to very lyrical melodies, that influenced more from the classical or modern classical world, than the rock/blues world, or English/traditional world. The merge of these soft melodies with the rawness of rock and the complex rhythms will be a recognizable trait of Mike Johnson at his successor works. Also we can find here some coincident noises, which will later develop into soundscapes. All these methods show the basics of a very reach language, which will develop later, up to the very high quality of the latest efforts.

The main vocalist here is Sharon Bradford. Her singing style is something between classical-operatic, cabaret, and kind of poppy sweetness. She is a very impressive singer. 'Thorns of Blue and Red' feature a male voice, performed by her partner to life Mark Bradford. His singing style also combine classical and kind of theatrical feeling, in a very interesting and original way.

Other key member is Bob Drake, who played various instruments, recorded and produced. He was still at his first steps as a sound engineer and producer, I won't take it as an example to his proven talent on this disciplines. Also we have to consider that there are modest equipments and recording here. The overall sound is very much similar to other works that done at that era, the beginning of the 80's. No more analog, large and expensive synths, start of the digital and cold sound, and not yet developed to the technologies of today.

Except from the three main compositions, there are other tracks, written by most of the members, include Johnson himself, but their quality is far less than the three major compositions. From these tracks, I like the track written by Sharon Bradford, 'The Taste That Lingers On'. This is a sort of pop song in the vein of the 80's, featuring Ska guitars. (Ska was very popular style at the 80's). The last candy here is a tasteful solo guitar by Johnson at 'Thorns of Blue and Red'.

So this LP is recommended to TP fans who are curious to know where all this start from (like myself), 80's fans, and any proggers who could stand on a bit of modernism, not as much and in a more easy way to digest, than at their latest efforts. Three stars.

ShW1 | 3/5 |


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