So named because the Lepers, minus Dr. Pain, locked themselves in 28086's bedroom to write and record something, Claustrophobia is understandably slapdash but in its own way quite charming at points. Calling Claustrophobia the band's unplugged album pushes it a bit, but nothing is electric beyond the recording of various complaints about dick-sucking and the like, preventing this from being the big MOR folk move. Collectively, the Lepers had hit some sort of collective maturity, and while things certainly aren't fuzzy bunnies and mature, deep reflections, there's much more of an allowance for subtler approaches throughout. 28086 himself gets to lead off the album with "450 Boomcars," featuring a lovely acoustic guitar intro and this album's odd instrument of choice, autoharp. 28086 actually features more thoroughly on this album vocally than any previous one, having a lot of open fun with intentionally nonsense lyrics and sudden "it might work" ideas, as with "Dark Streaming in Through the Window." The Goat-Boy still has the dream of rock, naturally, with such ditties like "The Goat's Gloat" and the more than slightly disturbing and disturbed "Song for Sheila," another one of his French-language explosions of hate, punctuated with more Anglo-Saxon expressions as needed. B.S. wins out for album highlight this time out, thanks to his hilarious words and delivery for "I Opened the Package." With the Goat-Boy and 28086 creating a simple but fun enough acoustic guitar bed, B.S. details the travails of meeting a sexy woman, getting a blue blade via the woman as a gift from his boyfriend, and concluding, "I said, 'I don't have any boyfriends!'/She said, 'I know.'" "Blood on the Asphalt" makes an almost equally brilliant companion song, B.S. hoarsely detailing the mocking and death of "a little bastard" that wanted to play basketball.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett