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Thank You Scientist - Stranger Heads Prevail CD (album) cover

STRANGER HEADS PREVAIL

Thank You Scientist

 

Crossover Prog

4.11 | 239 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars After the bombastic, high octane, bombastic debut of Thank You Scientist filled with all sorts of influences and concepts, their followup is a high octane, bombastic sophomore album with all sorts of influences, but the sound considerably maturing. While the foundation of the band is still clear to see, with the pop and ska elements being fused with jazz, metal, and the insanity of The Mars Volta all still being there, but with more room to breath within tracks, along with certain compositional problems no longer being present, namely the lack of any track that goes too far off course and ends up losing its way. The album overall has a much more refined sound most noticeable in the improvement of aspects of each song to latch onto allowing each song to be immediately distinctive, causing the album to be much easier to get into when compared to their often dense (yet still great) .

Even from the opening notes of The Somnambulist, you can tell that the album will generally have a more restrained feel to it, as despite the chaos that takes place within the first 15 seconds, everything still feels very subdued. Overall, while nothing particularly amazing for the band, the rest of the song is an enjoyable, jazzy rock piece that is quite a suitable opener. This slight lukewarmness is immediately destroyed by my personal favourite song by the band, Caverns, jumps between riffs excellently in the intro before transitioning into a section almost devoid of brass, instead having a wonderfully interweaving melody involving the guitars. The lyrics are also excellent, with the powerful chorus conveying them well, and the change of tone into something sounding completely hopeless and distraught sweeps through. I also really love the heavier, slower riff at the end and how much it sounds like part of Haken's Visions, which I just find to be a fun touch. Mr Invisible then comes in after such an intense song with its amazingly funky bassline and just like Feed The Horses, strong Michael Jackson vibes, making for a really great, enjoyable song.

The next 3 songs all fall into what I'd consider TYS's general sound, quick time changes with overtones of pop, jazz and metal, each with moments of incredible amounts of energy, yet each of them also balance it nicely with quieter moments in order not to create a neverending onslaught of noise. Out of these, Need More Input stands out as being my least favourite song the band has put out, with barely a moment of interest to be found on it. The final three songs manage to be much more interesting, with Rube Goldberg Variations being an infinitely more entertaining instrumental than Suspicious Waveforms, with this one flipping through styles at a rapid pace, while also being by far the most crafted song the band has written so far, constantly progressing while still holding onto the key elements of what makes it great. Similarly, Psychopomp manages to maintain perfect focus throughout its 9 and a half minute runtime, having a really nice Middle Eastern sound to it, while also containing riff after riff, with the one in the chorus being absolutely perfect, despite the simplicity of it. The album closes off quite well with The Amateur Arsonist's Handbook, which is much faster paced and rock oriented than anything else on the album, and also contains a jaw dropping violin solo.

Overall, despite the fact that this is by far a more mature album by the band than the debut, I'd put them at about equal with each other, since I feel like this one hits a couple of spots that feel slightly off, along with the entirety of Need More Input, leading to me having very similar opinions about both, amazing albums, but not the band's full potential. I look forward to seeing what's to come for Thank You Scientist, as I feel like they have the potential to create a straight up masterpiece. And as one last small note, don't end your album with a cheesy acapella piece when the full fledged track before it closed it off perfectly, that's just bound to leave people with a bad taste in their mouths.

Best songs: Caverns, Rube Goldberg Variations, Psychopomp

Weakest songs: Need More Input, Epillogue: And the Clever Depart

Verdict: The easier of the albums by the band to get into, with a much less dense overall sound and many moments of wild experimentation that are far less caffeinated than you;d find on their debut, suggested to those who enjoy the Mars Volta or complex, jazzy music in general, although this album is far from inaccessible to more casual listeners anyway, at least in parts.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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