Album Review: Thank You Scientist, “Plague Accomodations”

Thank You Scientist is one of our favorite bands here at Proglodytes, and I am always thrilled to hear more from this collective of incredible musicians, led by the ever-brilliant and slightly crazy Tom Monda. Plague Accomodations, the latest EP from Thank You Scientist, was borne during the pandemic, as so many of us were sitting at home, scared and confused and waiting to hear some good news.

The new EP, aptly named Plague Accomodations serves several purposes for the band: Firstly, it serves as the inaugural release on the band’s new label, Flying Jangus Records. Secondly, it was released to kick off their first tour in over a year and a half, with prog metal heavyweights Intervals. And, most recently, this album is the last one to feature the stunning drums of Faye Fadem, who has decided to focus all her energies on her mindblowing project Trust Fund Ozu.

The EP itself isn’t a complete redirection for their sound, but it definitely carries a noticeably different vibe from song to song, trading whimsy for a bit of malaise. Opener “Gigglebutton” features Thank You Scientist’s trademark blend of funk, fusion, and progressive rock, bringing a driven, sinister melody and almost a fusion-tinged Thelonious Monk vibe. “Creature Comfort” is a slightly more subdued track, but it still packs some incredible intensity. The funky main line provides a very stable, danceable groove, but the numerous instruments in the band nimbly dance in kaleidoscopic, syncopated hits.

“Soul Driver”, the EP’s single offering, has echoes of the melodic sensibilities of Terraformer, but leans into a dizzying blend of pop and metal. Closer “Plague Accomodations” is still a bright, impressive, melodic track, but one imbued with dark undertones, made clear in the lyrics and the chorus.

True to its name, this EP isn’t exactly a cheerful ray of sunshine (like some of their other tracks and songs can be); “Soul Diver” is the most upbeat and straightforward of the tracks, but there are still undertones of darkness and chaos present on this EP. Which, as a fellow human being that made it out of 2020 alive despite the absolute insanity that enveloped humanity, I totally f*cking relate. The EP isn’t a total stylistic shift, but is a progression. While the arrangements are still brilliant and crisp, the production and overall vibe seems denser and moodier. These are elements we’ve seen before in Thank You Scientist, but they seem more present and centered on this EP.

It all goes to say- like other albums that were released to process 2020, this album embodies the range of emotions we all felt throughout the pandemic, and are still feeling in many ways (as the damn virus carries on). 2020 was a brutal year for all of us (that aren’t billionaires), but musicians who depended on touring and album sales for revenue were hit incredibly hard. Thank You Scientist is emerging triumphantly from the madness and darkness of the last few years, though not completely unscathed. If this record is any indicator of where they’re headed for future releases, I very much look forward to the brilliant stuff they will surely create in the coming months.

Thank You Scientist’s latest EP, Plague Accomodations, will be released on November 19th, 2021 via the brand new Flying Jangus Records. Pre-order it here, and check out this absolutely, definitely serious advertisement below for the album.

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