Thinking Fellers Union Local #282

Funeral Pudding

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At around 30 minutes in length, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282's 1993 recording The Funeral Pudding is really more of an EP, perhaps a stopgap between their masterful collection of esoterica, Mother of All Saints, and the quirk-pop perfection of Strangers from the Universe. And for the Thinking Fellers it is an unusually subdued affair; the album is split between four proper tracks and five throwaway instrumentals recorded in their rehearsal space (aka the "Turk Street junkie squat," a point of reference for any mid-'90s underground San Francisco musician). While many of their albums are laced with this "Feller filler," these primitively recorded improvisational noodlings come off as uninspired. Despite the jaunty banjo-driven "Waited Too Long" and the rollicking spy flick theme "Flames Up," even the fleshed-out studio tracks have an overall somberness to them, perhaps in accordance with the album title, and lack the prototypical Thinking Fellers' manic energy. It's still an intriguing entry in the Fellers' prolific catalog, but not nearly essential except for the most die-hard completist.

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