Thunder Bishop is Alive

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“Oh…my…GOD. The triumphant return!” – Travis Reitsma

Last week, Thunder Bishop released The Shape of Shapes to be Shaped, an album of 14 brand-new songs written and recorded in the first week of February.

The album was recorded off-the-floor, with the minimal use of overdubs and a conservative number of takes. Most of the vocal songs had some overdubbing, the exceptions being Eat More Bread and Everybody Has The Same Coat, while most of the instrumentals don’t, the exception being Spanish Fly.

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The music is pretty well balanced between classic-sounding stuff and newish territory. There’s less of the trademark sloppyness, but it’s there. Tracks like Punt-All, Lyt?, Whiskey Thief and Turtle Bat are distinctly Thunder Bishop, as is the angry keyboard of 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion, where the three of us all traded instruments (and not for the only time). We’re also no stranger to the punk sound of Everybody Has The Same Coat or the raw pop of Eat More Bread, the centerpiece of the album.

Deep Skin Peel, performed by Eric and his cat, is a bit of a tangent, and is quickly followed by Brush Your Teeth, performed without Eric, which includes Joe playing the accordion, a new instrument for Thunder Bishop, also featured in the aptly-named Spanish Fly, the intentionally non-Thunder-Bishopy introductory track.

God Invented Advertising arguably crosses over into hip-hop territory, across the fine line from the spoken word of Whiskey Thief (which features Maria Pranschke on bgvs). The bass line quotes Bourée by JS Bach in the chorus, and Joe plays the washboard tie.

With Are You Dead?, we successfully turned a normal-sounding song into… something else. It features one of the relatively-few jammy moments on the album, sharing that distinction with the end of Whiskey Thief and the verses of Eat More Bread.

72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion would qualify as a jam, probably being the song with the least planning done prior to pressing record, but it has turned out to be one of my favourites.

Echolocation is one of our sloth-songs, slow-moving and ugly. It was the last thing recorded and it was designed to close the album.

The album can be streamed in its entirety at thunderbishop.bandcamp.com.

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