Thinking Plague

A Thinking Plague

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...A Thinking Plague was recorded with a very low budget and first released as a cheaply pressed LP in 1984, then issued as a cassette in 1986 on the band's own label, Endemic. Cuneiform gave it a decent CD release in 2000 as part of the album Early Plague Years. Even though these are early experiments by masterminds Bob Drake and Mike Johnson, ...A Thinking Plague is generally better than its follow-up, Moonsongs. The music relies less on percussion, melodies are stronger, but, most of all, the album is more cohesive. The band evolved from Rock in Opposition influences such as Henry Cow and Etron Fou Leloublan and was more versed in rock than the Motor Totemist Guild. Vocalist Sharon Bradford is not as impressive as Suzanne Lewis, who would replace her for the next album, but she does her job well. Songs are complex and arrangements can be disconcerting at times (the last section of "Thorns of Blue and Red/The War" could have been stronger). This album has a sense of direction Moonsongs lacks, but the band's sound is also less distinctive, its identity still burgeoning. It should be considered as a very impressive debut.

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