In This Life
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Thinking Plague has been releasing impossible to categorize albums to a devoted fan-base for over 30 years.
In This Life, originally released in 1989, was the group's 3rd album and their first CD release after two previous albums that flew under the radar of most listeners.
Originally released by the ReR label, this was the first album to really bring this superb US band to a wider audience. It was their last to feature singer Susanne Lewis, who lends a convincing air to the menace of some of the lyrics. It is also their last album to feature Bob Drake as a full member of the band.
Just over twenty five years have passed since I first heard this album upon its release, but what I originally wrote about it still rings quite true, even if I didn't anticipate that the band would still be a vital force two and a half decades later: 'Combine the sound of the 5uu's with the Art Bears, add a (non Dagmar like) female singer & woodwinds, & you come up with this unique U.S. slant on the European art rock song sound. What a great album; one of 1989's best releases!'
It comes back into print now for the first time in years. The two 'bonus tracks', which were taken from their first two albums and can be found in superior form on Early Plague Years have been removed and this presents the album as the band originally planned it. The CD is now shorter, but much more focused this way and a more coherent, single work. It has been newly remastered by Mark Fuller from the original stereo mixdown master, as overseen by the band.
The manner in which Thinking Plague...have condensed only the most fertile (and often the most pulverizing) aspect of the last 30 years of progressive exploration into an nth-degree endgame is nothing short of awe-inspiring. --Alternative Press
Art-rock; visceral, complex, dark and beautiful music. Thinking Plague is a remarkable ensemble whose playing is exceptionally tight, marked by riveting transition and layered and haunting tonalities. The first three tracks are like a trilogy reminding one of Henry Cow/Art Bears, only more mystical... Susanne Lewis' vocals...are deceptively intense and focused. Love ...may be the best original piece on the disc, musically akin to Charles Ive's Central Park in the Dark with a rock arrangement, exploring increasingly complex tone clusters that galvanize its angular melody into bursting prisms of sound. ... Thinking Plague's music is intensely challenging and engaging. --Edan Epstein, KCRW Radio, Los Angeles
Thinking Plague have climbed into a cubbyhole uniquely their own. Inside a framework of semi-improvised music and meandering lyrics, Thinking Plague spew forth an idiosyncratic variety of styles. Acid Rock and art rock influences abound, as do, avant-jazz and modern classical styles. --Neil Strauss, Ear Magazine