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Tomahawk: Tonic Immobility

If you want to feel old, consider this: It’s been twenty years since Tomahawk released their first album. It’s also been eight years since they released their last album. For those who need a refresher, Tomahawk is a supergroup or a side project or an experiment made up of Duane Denison (guitars and keyboards), Trevor Nunn (bass), Mike Patton (vocals, sampler), and John Stanier (drums). You’re probably familiar with some of those names, but if not, look out for bands like Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Helmet, Jesus Lizard, and Fantômas. Any of those bands should keep you busy for a while.

As I listened to this album, I had two immediate thoughts: First, I wondered if there was life on other planets and what they would think of us if this was all the music they could access. Second, I wondered what I really thought about the strange country ramblings of “Doomsday Fatigue.” I’m generally skeptical of the alien thought experiment, but I suspect they’d probably just take off and not give us another thought. Or maybe they want to be shaken up and listen to tunes like “Business Casual,” and wonder about the state of mind that this song satirizes. As for “Doomsday Fatigue,” I think I’m mostly convinced that it works. It’s really weird, and it isn’t something I’ll return to much, but it’s pretty good all the same.

Let’s be honest: Tomahawk is supposed to be weird. There aren’t many bands like this, and I doubt many people would be interested if the lineup was just a bunch of people from down the street. And yet, there’s something fascinating about this band. For every song that doesn’t work, there are two that do. For me, the better songs were “Tatoo Zero,” “SHHH!,” “Business Casual,” and “Doomsday Fatigue.” “Tatoo Zero” is probably my least favorite of that grouping, but how can I resist its hard-driving middle section?

Overall, this album works in parts but doesn’t completely hold together. It’s more structured and deliberate than made up, but there’s an experimental and spontaneous quality to much of it that only works sometimes. But, as with all things Tomahawk, that’s not altogether surprising. The band is more of a release valve for the musicians than something that is supposed to corner the market.

If you’re predisposed to dig this one, you probably will. If you’re a casual listener, you’ll either be annoyed or fascinated or both.

Track Listing:
1. SHHH!
2. Valentine Shine
3. Predators and Scavengers
4. Doomsday Fatigue
5. Business Casual
6. Tattoo Zero
7. Fatback
8. Howlie
9. Eureka
10. Sidewinder
11. Dog Eat Dog

Added: July 10th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 678
Language: english

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