Mike Patton is at it again with the release of ‘Oddfellows’ from his band Tomahawk. Tomahawk consists of an array of talented musicians that includes Mike Patton (Faith no More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Peeping Tom, Mondo Cane), Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard, U.S.S.A., The Legendary Shack Shakers), John Stanier (Helmet, Battles, The Mark of Cain), and Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Secret Chiefs 3, Mad Love).
‘Oddfellows’ is the fourth album from Tomahawk and if there is one thing that you can count on from them, it’s that each album sounds completely different than the previous one. The self titled debut gave us a dark, aggressive, and sometimes comical blend of alternative rock and a bit of country. With ‘Mit Gas’, their second album, we found that the band had become a more cohesive unit. The result of this was a noisy but layered album that blended elements of punk and metal and contained an onslaught of tempo changes. The third album ‘Anonymous’ was the greatest departure of all with reinterpreted versions of Native American music blended with modern rock.
Tomahawk’s “Stone Letter”
The new album ‘Oddfellows’ is again vastly different than their previous offerings. This time around we are treated to a sound that comes across like a grungy surf record. But this is Tomahawk we are talking about. There is nothing about the sound that can be singularly defined. Layered within each track we also have elements of pop, jazz, and swing. We are again treated to Patton’s manic vocals, but with this album it sounds as if the rest of the band has contributed vocals as well. With the other band members contributing to the choruses, the end result is a richer and fuller sound than we have had before.
The title track Oddfellows opens the album and pulls you in immediately with its slow heavy drum beat and almost hypnotic guitar riff. Combine this with Patton’s chant like vocals and you get an album opener that makes you take notice. We then move on to Stone Letter, the lead single for the album. There is no question as to why they chose this track to be their lead single. This is a straight up rock track with some elements of heavy pop that really kicks the album into gear. Nothing about this album is ordinary and you really have to sit back and let it envelope you while listening to it. It’s like a combination of Dick Dale and early 90’s grunge as is most evident on the tracks South Paw, Typhoon, and White Hats/Black Hats. But as all Patton fans know, he can also croon with the best of them.
Throughout the album the band slows things down a bit with tracks like I.O.U., A Thousand Eyes, and a couple others. They even manage to throw a little surprise in the middle of the album with Rise Up Dirty Waters, a sultry jazz tune mixed with modern swing. While the sound of this track is a bit different than the others on the album, it isn’t really that big of a surprise for Tomahawk. Tomahawk’s ability to maneuver through major tempo changes within a track, to vary the ebb and flow within the album, and to produce an overall different sound for each album, is what makes them a phenomenal and fun band to listen to. Do yourself a favor and give this album a listen because it truly has a rich and unique sound and is sure to be one of the first great albums of 2013.
For more information on Tomahawk, visit http://www.ipecac.com/artists/tomahawk
Written By Tim Lawler