Thinking Fellers Union Local #282

Bob Dinners and Larry Noodles Present Tubby Turdner's Celebrity Avalanche

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A comeback album of sorts (did they ever really go away?), Thinking Fellers Union Local 282's epic-titled 2001 album is a triumphant return to form, judging from the opening track alone, the ecstatically rampaging "Another Clip." It exhibits what the band does best: a proprietary concoction of absurd lyrics sung in strangled falsetto, spastic instrumental math rock rave-ups, and a psychedelic experience akin to Revenge of the Nerds on brown acid. Following that is "Sno Cone," which harks back to the unsettling dreamlike guitar workouts of 1992's Mother of All Saints, with a twisted syncopation and one-note instrumental tradeoffs echoed by three different vocalists offering up an anthem of dementia. It's a tour de force and stands among the band's best work. The rest of the album, as is often the case with these prolific yet inconsistent nutjobs, alternates between disposable (yet mood-setting) "Feller filler" and straight-up examples of their unique nerd/geek rock. "Holy Ghost" shifts time signatures multiple times in and around its caustic violin drone and backwards guitar skronk. "Everything Is Impossible" is a strangely straightforward and soothing samba, with elegant guitar passages, an understated rhythm section, and ghostly vocals. "'91 Dodge Van" is a sincere and sentimental homage to a workhorse touring vehicle. "You in a Movie," "El Cerrito" (East Bay represent!), "The Barker," and "In the Stars I Can Sizzle Like a Battery" are all quintessential Thinking Fellers, straddling the thin line between accessible and impenetrable. And "Birth of a Rock Song" is...well, precisely that (see "Tuning Notes" from the aforementioned Mother of All Saints). The album ends with ten-minute opus "He Keeps Himself Fed," which starts off as a terrifying metallic stomper that devolves into a meandering ambient piece that ever so slowly fades, suggesting the impending departure of our beloved Fellers, who seem to have gone away again after this release, and the world is a sadder place for it.

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