27

Thinking Plague: Decline and Fall

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Thinking Plague cofounder/guitarist Mike Johnson penned the lyrics and composed the music for the group's meticulously engineered sixth album. Considered one of the premiere Rock in Opposition units, Johnson's lyrics presage an anarchistic domain with offbeat allusions to life's injustices. As band newcomer, vocalist Elaine Di Falco summons notions of an angel in despair throughout these complex pieces, spiced with dour implications and contrasting thematic flows, modeled with odd-metered cadences.

Di Falco harmonizes with the instrumentation amid some harrowing background choruses that spawn chamber-rock motifs, polyrhythmic diversions, and multihued tonalities. There's never a dull moment as the album presents a fête designed with superb musicianship and an overall sound that is indubitably unique. Bristling rhythms coupled with moments of slanted whimsy and apocalyptic vistas broadcast diametric occurrences, with woodwinds ace Mark Harris spicing the impacting pulses with lilting accents, countering the band's slippery unison breakouts and intensely fabricated dialogues.

The ensemble's perpetual motion, glistening textures, and unanticipated detours are not executed simply for bravado purposes; its music poses an alternative approach that staggers the mind's eye. On "A Virtuous Man," Kimara Sajin opens with an antiquated keyboard sound, followed by Di Franco's eerily low-key vocals and a motif-generating exercise, intimating that Armageddon teeters on the horizon. Surging onward, the musicians render a few mini-breakdowns atop irregular beats and a clandestine mode of operations, twisted into regal choruses that signify mass destruction or triumph. Thinking Plague yields a cinematic panache, iterated via song forms that duly mirror an off-centered world dictated by calamity, intrigue, and sardonic escapism.

Track Listing: Malthusian Dances; I Cannot Fly; Sleeper Cell Anthem; A Virtuous Man; The gyre; Climbing the Mountain.

Personnel: Elaine Di Falco: voice; Mark Harris: saxophones, clarinets; Mike Johnson: guitars; Kimara Sajn: drums, keyboards; Dave Willey: bass; Robin Chestnut: drums (5); Kaveh Rastegar: bass (1); Dexter Ford: bass (5).

Title: Decline and Fall | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Mount Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Mount Meander
by John Sharpe
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Then and Now" CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Blueberry Ash" CD/LP/Track Review Blueberry Ash
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°" CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Fun with Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Fun with Notes
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.