Tomahawk
Oddfellows


3.5
great

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
January 30th, 2013 | 76 replies


Release Date: 01/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Flawed, yet exceptionally far-reaching return to form.

Oddfellows picks up where Tomahawk’s sophomore album Mit Gas left off proving that the Native American concept taken on highly polarizing Anonymous was only a one-off detour. Thankfully so, the supergroup comprised of Mike Patton, axeman Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard), drummer John Stanier (Helmet) and newly acquired bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle) returns to their more straightforward, heavy rock style known from their first two releases. For this reason, the fourth Tomahawk album sounds distinctly familiar with its peculiar blend of quasi-punk rock and enticing melodies that resemble the late work of formidable Faith No More. There's also a tinge of eccentric Fantomas influence thrown in for good measure.

The foursome likes to describe this project as “what we do when we want to rock out and just go nuts and have fun," yet it so happens that Oddfellows sounds way more imaginative than most alternative rock records released these days. The title track perfectly exemplifies the act's experimental tendencies making great use of angular riffs and clunky bass lines, while “The Quiet Few” builds its eerie atmosphere on long, spastic guitar leads that channel Denison's noise rock background. Most frequently, his cutting-edge guitar play counterpoints Dunn's warmly tuned bass, which results in many rhythmically unconventional solutions that keep listeners constantly guessing in which direction any given song will progress.

Expectedly the instrumentation, no matter how intricate it may be, often plays second fiddle to Patton's multi-faceted vocals which oscillate between clean baritone singing, maniacal crooning and full-on, bombastic choruses. His outstanding vocal range is particularly evident when he goes bonkers in the album's several highlights. Such hard-hitting tracks as "White Hats/Black Hats," "South Paw," and "Warratorium" display an uncanny knack for crafting memorable music that merges slick pop with sludge metal and alt rock aesthetics without drifting into mindless technicality.

The scope of Tomahawk's presentation is even broader though encompassing mellower tracks that strike a balance between tender and ominous. The only considerable downside of the record lies in the fact that this material often feels underwritten or incomplete. “I Can Almost See Them” is devoid of any satisfying conclusion mysteriously building to no climax, whereas “Typhoon” is an otherwise intriguing mesh-up of punk and prog opera that lasts too short to make any impact. It's easy to get an impression that the record hasn't been sufficiently polished up including plenty of great ideas that don't always amount to equally great songs.

Bearing in mind the high profile of musicians involved, Tomahawk are destined to come up with a classic one day. While Oddfellows isn't really consistent enough to become one in the future, it superbly showcases the outfit's much desirable comeback to their eccentric hybrid of punk and experimental rock. As imperfect as it may be, the album will definitely rank among the most diverse rock releases of the year.




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user ratings (118)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
InbredJed (2.5)
The title "Oddfellows" ends up being incredibly apt, although perhaps not in the context intended by...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Jruined
January 30th 2013


1299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Summary is definitely how I feel about this album. I think it's going to grow a bit more on me, but there are moments that just feel awkward.

Digging: Earth - Primitive and Deadly

Wolfhorde
January 30th 2013


13184 Comments


Greg putting out reviews like his life was depending on it.

Need to give this a listen.

porch
January 30th 2013


8460 Comments


there's nothing adventurous about this album, sounds like everyone concerned is phoning it in

and as a duane denison fan it's disappointing to hear him playing shit rock like waratorium

stabbler
January 30th 2013


1415 Comments


i have low expectations but will check it out in eternal hope

chambered99
January 30th 2013


802 Comments


how the fuck do u give every shitty stoner rock album u listen to a 4.5 but this a 3.5 jesus dude ur shit is backwards

Cimnele
January 30th 2013


359 Comments


no this album is cool as hell and almost all the songs are really memorable

chambered99
January 30th 2013


802 Comments


i wonder what would happen if greg listened to something unconventional would his head explode?

Wolfhorde
January 30th 2013


13184 Comments


calm down, sam.

chambered99
January 30th 2013


802 Comments


how do u know my name sir

porch
January 30th 2013


8460 Comments


"the album's unconventional lack of stoner rock riffs puts the band firmly into avant garde territory"

chambered99
January 30th 2013


802 Comments


lol 123

bodiesinflight57
January 30th 2013


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is a bloody brilliant rock album. Not really experimental musically but the atmosphere of some tracks really pushes it to another level. So glad they're back.

Wolfhorde
January 30th 2013


13184 Comments


"how do u know my name sir"
STASI knowledge but psshht.

DeadToPain
January 30th 2013


694 Comments


I only listened to it once yesterday, but I liked it a ton. Definitely happy they went for a return to form from "Mit Gas". I'll definitely have to listen a few more times before I rate it since I'm a raging Patton fanboy.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2013


7387 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"You Rub Me So Wrong. Please Keep Your Clothes On. You Rub Me So Wrong With Your South Paw" - rules so much

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

breakingthefragile
January 30th 2013


2956 Comments


Feature after feature man, damn. Congrats.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

chesse13
January 30th 2013


3056 Comments


i'm really excited for Dunn's playing on this. I'm going to download it now

Digging: Medications - Medications

InbredJed
January 31st 2013


5883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

SHIT! I was trying to get time to finish my review for this album all week, looks like you beat me to it, :D Solid review for sure

Digging: JJ Cale - Okie

Alhazred
January 31st 2013


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I couldn't be more satisfied with this release. It may not be my favorite Tomahawk album, but man is
it the catchiest. I can't stop listening to it. It's full of great hooks, and while I at first
thought it had too many weak tracks, I've come to love them all. Like previous albums, it took me
about a dozen listens to really start loving it, but I'm there. And Typhoon is one of my favorite
tracks. Yeah, it's too short, but that's why we have Repeat Song buttons on our players. *EDIT:
There are a couple parts that haven't grown on me. I don't like the chorus to Stoneletter... It
got old very fast. I'm not sure how to describe what I don't like about it other than that it
reminds me of why I'm not a big fan of Pearl Jam's Backspacer. The straight-up Mr. Bungle moment in
"Rise Up Dirty Waters" makes me cringe a little. Overall the choruses aren't quite as passionate or
epic as on the first two, but replacing those with Tomahawk-flavored rock is a fine alternative.

InbredJed
January 31st 2013


5883 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

eat with your left, wipe with your right



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