I love this album! David Thomas' warbly vocals, Mayo Thompson's rare but catchy guitar, Tony Maimone's complicated, intricate basslines, and Anton Fier's complex drumming make for a wonderful album. I'll do a song by song breakdown to make it easier for you to see the inside of my mind bu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
1. The Long Walk Home: Great song with a jazz breakdown in the middle, featuring odd static noises. 4/5
2. Use of a Dog: David Thomas kind of sounds like Tiny Tim on this one, which adds to the song's oddness. Cool trumpet, played by guest Eddie Thornton. 4/5
3. Petrified: GREAT SONG GREAT SONG GREAT SONG the little voices in my head are screaming. I have to agree with them. Between the great rhythm section workout, the lyrics about fossils, and, uh... I dunno, it's good okay?! 5/5
4. Stormy Weather: Too long even at 3 minutes. Very boring, although some of the ship noises and bells are slightly interesting. My least favorite track on the album. 2/5
5. West Side Story: It sounds a little bit like jazz gone wrong, with the great rhythm section (again! Maimone and Fier are really awesome!) and the mallet instruments. I likeses it lotses. 4/5
6. Thoughts that go by Steam: Eh. It's pretty good, but not one of my favorites. 3/5
7. Big Ed's Used Farms: If only for the sheer goofiness of the song it gets 5/5.
8. A Day Such as This: A mini-epic divided into 2 or 3 parts, some of which sound vaguely tribal and quite interesting. David Thomas spells out "Hyperbole" which I think means something like nonsense. Ha ha ha. Really good song though. 5/5
9. The Vulgar Boatman Bird: Good. 4/5
10. My Hat: Goofy. 4/5
11. Horns are a Dilemma: Good 4/5
So, this album gets my seal of approval.