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Album Review

After a brief lull of "Feller filler," Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 come roaring out of the gate with "A Lamb's Lullaby," a simultaneously frenetic yet eerie classic on a par with any of the prolific outfit's best work, with demented falsetto vocals, free-spazz guitar, and multiple time changes. Then, to further exhibit their chameleon-like ability to shape-shift from song to song, they follow it with "Empty Cup," the closest these endearingly eccentric nerdrockers have ever come to a pop song, with lead vocals by the band's lone female, bassist Anne Eikelberg. And so it goes with yet more filler (cheaply recorded instrumentals that bridge the gaps between songs more than stand on their own), followed by another quintessentially quirky anthem, "Lizard's Dream," mathematical enough to assuage the kook contingent yet accessible enough for radio (college or community radio, that is) airplay. Other highlights include the suicide mystery "Elgin Miller," the laser beam guitar freakout of "Brains," and the gentle banjo-driven paean to déjà vu "Triple X." The title of this album, if taken literally, might be an ironic reference to their previous release, The Funeral Pudding, the disappointingly lean and underwhelming follow-up to their "breakthrough" album, Strangers from the Universe. Although uneven in spots, I Hope It Lands ranks among the Thinking Fellers' finest. And if it didn't exactly make the band a household name, it surely pleased the band's core constituency of Bay Area and college-circuit geekrockers. And for those it didn't please, the band titled an agitated off-key instrumental just for them: "The Rampaging Fuckers of Anything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere."


Formed: 1986 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

With such a longwinded moniker, it seems likely that Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 could be nothing but a bunch of pretentious art-school rejects. Fortunately, that's pretty far from the truth -- their sound is a hybrid of art rock and punk rock, based on noodling on organs, electric banjos, mandolins and heavy, fuzzed-out guitar blasts. The group formed in 1987 in San Francisco and released their first album Wormed By Leonard on their own label Thwart a year later. In 1991, the group made the...
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