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Following in the tradition of the brilliant "Cigaretiquette" single, which immediately preceded it, Thriller moves Lambchop sharply away from their signature alt-countrypolitan sound, pushing instead toward a punchier, noisier aesthetic; borrowing its title from the best-selling album of all time and devoting no less than three of its eight tracks to East River Pipe covers, it's a strange, difficult record likely to baffle even the group's most devoted fans. Opening with the surreal doo wop of "My Face Your Ass" and then sliding into the oddly funky "Your Fucking Sunny Day," which comes complete with a Muscle Shoals-styled horn section, the record defies expectations at every turn; almost completely abandoning the string-laden, Nashville sound-influenced approach of earlier efforts, Thriller is dark and dissonant, with an edgy, menacing lyrical slant to match. Not everything here works, but the album's sheer audacity alone makes it well worth a listen, again confirming Lambchop's status among the most consistently weird and fascinating bands around.

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