Tomahawk – Oddfellows Tomahawk – Oddfellows

150568_438260536232880_969912310_nWas it really 2007 when the last Tomahawk record came out? Damn. It doesn’t feel like that long. Tomahawk, for the uninitiated, is a nebulous group consisting of Ipecac related musicians sort of lead by Mike Patton. The group sifts together every couple of years with their last outing in 2007 with Anonymous. Following a bunch of side projects from Patton including a fantastic Italian pop record, Tomahawk is ready to form and set out on foot across the musical landscape once again. Was it really 2007 for the last Tomahawk record? I am just confused because the band’s sound appears to be trapped in an ageless vacuum or rests on an entirely different plane. I know it is hard to fathom but rest assured it will never be dull or uninteresting.

A timeline of Mike Patton’s work is complicated with a myriad of projects, soundtrack work, and guest appearances. This complicated timeline seems to get even more complicated following the late 90’s dissolution of Mr. Bungle. Out of that dissolution came the initial projects Tomahawk and Fantômas. I am sure one could chart the influences which followed these subsequent projects out of their parent bands but suffice to say Tomahawk, compared to Fantômas, retains the most traditional rock structure. In fact, out of every Patton related project, Tomahawk is most similar to the spirit of 80’s alternative metal act Faith No More. With that, Tomahawk continues the lineage of alternative / experimental rock into a new decade, of course, on a separate timeline. This is 2013 from the perspective of 1995. Maybe 1895.

Following the Native American folk inspired record Anonymous, Tomahawk’s fourth release Oddfellows continues the pursuit of weirdo rock with a mixture of effect heavy atmosphere and dark yet humorous songwriting. The album’s single “Stone Letter” is a pretty clear thesis on the groups desire to be a spooky alternative rock band. The interesting part about “Stone Letter” is that compared to the rest of Oddfellows, the single is pedestrian and common compared to the rest of the record. While this sounds like a criticism, feel confident in the fact that Oddfellows is more frightening that its advertised singles. If I ever wanted to know what the musical equivalent to a haunted house was, Tomahawk, unsurprisingly, is here to see that my wish is fulfilled.

Oddfellows prides itself and succeeds because of its attention to detail. “A Thousand Eyes” which floats in the middle of the record, articulates the band’s love for atmosphere. The song creeps across the foreground with instances of cries and moaning in the back. “A Thousand Eyes,” as well as songs like “I Can Almost See Them,” and “Southpaw” is reminiscence not only Tomahawk’s history with atmosphere but a gross amount of time loving old horror scores and generally weird things. “Baby Let’s Play,” which hovers at the end of the album is glorious and chilling with its tightly wrapped tension. Though the song on the surface seems like a love letter, its morbid and surreal undertones illustrate Tomahawk’s strength for being eerie and fucking menacing. I never wanted Tomahawk to sound like anything as the band does great stuck between everything I keep saying that Oddfellows exists on a separate plane as if it was made by a band who died in the late 90’s but never realized that they departed. If you would like to think of them as ghosts go ahead. I already do.

Oddfellows reminds everyone that Tomahwak can take as many years as they want between records because it seems like they never miss a step. Things never seem forced and besides a few baffling singles, always feel genuine. With each release, Patton and company retain the influences of previous projects to distill a higher solution of odd. A band of ghosts. A parliament of ghouls. A congregation of weirdos.

Tomahawk Oddfellows’ Tracklist

1. Oddfellows
2. Stone Letter
3. I.O.U
4. White Hats/Black Hats
5. A Thousand Eyes
6. Rise Up Dirty Waters
7. The Quiet Few
8. I Can Almost See Them
9. South Paw
10. Choke Neck
11. Waratorium
12. Baby Let s Play____
13. Typhoon

Tomahawk - Oddfellows, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2013-02-28T04:13:11-08:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

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