Third Thought gets downright adventurous on the intense and thoughtful “Direct Democracy 1”. Beautifully capturing the zeitgeist there is a careening wildness to the arrangements. Instrumentally they incorporate so many styles it is hard to precisely pin them down. From elements of folk punk, garage rock, lo-fi, even jazz filters into the fray. All these many elements blend together to create this sense of pure uncertainty, as if at any moment they will blow the whole thing up. Vocals truly sell this unsteady unease, for his singing has an anxious commanding presence about it. Lyrics here matter a great deal for he proves to be a deft storyteller.
References abound and he dives deep into a classic, timeless sound of a revolutionary sound. For the clever word choice, his style feels akin to Mayo Thompson’s most unhinged creations under his Red Krayola moniker. With all of the tension build up into almost unbelievable degrees, he brings some of Pere Ubu’s sense of time and place. For the vocals themselves, their flexibility and tone shifts do touch a little bit on Mike Patton’s animalistic crooning.
High-pitched scree settles into a singular riff on the opener “Universal and careful Referendums, Initiatives and recalls”. Things have an uneasy psychedelic swagger for “Rigging” seems to scream out into the air, with every guitar virtually panicked. “Our Turn” features rather playful horns, with the fanfare adding to the carnivalesque spirit, as the loose jazz flair and his approach brings to mind a long-lost Mr. Bungle track. With “Obedient Modesty” he allows the tempo to slow down, allowing for a meditative reflection. Athletic with their wide opened gestures comes the pained performance of “Stagnation Nation” which serves as the very soul of the entire album.
Pure lo-fi fuzz and a gritty disposition frames “The Cringe Man” which really demands to be played as loudly as possible. Drumming has a nimbleness to it for “Banana Havoc” aptly brings a tropical flair in, featuring some jazz/folk guitars mixed alongside the insistent electric guitar work. Some hope pours through on “Electoral Reform/General Strike/Direct Democracy Tune” as the vocals soar up into the sky. A whispered aura underpins “Universal and Careful Direct Democracy or Bust!”. Going for a gigantic approach is the roar of “We Need Universal And Careful Direct Democracy” whose heartfelt message ends things off on a high note.
It has been a while since I heard something so completely free as Third Thought’s “Direct Democracy 1” and the album is a soulful blast.