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Published on 23rd September 2015

Thinking Plague’s In This Life 25th anniversary remaster


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Whilst Thinking Plague continue recording an album of all-new material, tentatively titled Hope Against Hope and scheduled for 2016, comes the re-issue of In This Life (89). Re-mastered in celebration of its 25th Anniversary, In This Life, will be released through Cuneiform Records on 3rd October 2015.

PRESS RELEASE: Musically riveting, an album that grabs listeners by the throat, In This Life is not merely a fascinating album of extraordinary rock-based songs. It is a landmark recording in the life of one of America’s most distinctive bands and in the international spread of Rock in Opposition-style sophisticated post-rock. Recorded in 1988-89 by Denver-based Thinking Plague, one of the most esteemed and longstanding American avant-progressive ensembles, In This Life marked Thinking Plague’s stylistic coming-of-age. The band had recorded two earlier LPs (…A Thinking Plague and Moonsongs) in the years since its 1982 co-founding by Mike Johnson and Bob Drake. Those early works brought Thinking Plague national “underground” acclaim. But the lineup responsible for In This Life, with Mike Johnson handling composition and Susanne Lewis supplying lyrics and vocals, proved to be the early group’s ideal creative brew.

Thinking Plague - 1989
[l-r: Shane Hotle, Mark Harris, Maria Moran, Mike Johnson circa 1989 | photo credit: Leslie Jordan]

In This Life originally came out in 1989 on Recommended Records (ReR), the London-based label run by Chris Cutler, founder of the Rock in Opposition movement and member of renowned band Henry Cow. One track on the album featured a guest appearance by Fred Frith, the legendary Henry Cow/Art Bears guitarist. It became ReR’s first-ever release on the then-radically-new format of CD – a format that simplified the disc’s international distribution. In This Life cemented Thinking Plague’s status on the international RIO scene and launched their international career, receiving glowing reviews in the music press on both sides of the Atlantic. Nearly a decade would pass before Thinking Plague released an album following In This Life. When it resumed recording under composer Mike Johnson’s leadership, it did so with a different lineup. In 1998, Thinking Plague’s fourth album, In Extremis, came out on Cuneiform Records. Subsequent recordings of new Thinking Plague material – A History of Madness (2003) and  Decline and Fall (2012) – would also come out on Cuneiform.  In 2000, Cuneiform reissued Thinking Plague’s first two recordings, …A Thinking Plague and Moonsongs, together as a CD titled Early Plague Years. In This Life completes Cuneiform’s reissue of all of the band’s early recordings.

In This Life’s reissue on Cuneiform Records is the first-ever for the sonic landmark, whose music sounds as starkly new and strikingly original today as it did to audiences 25 years ago. The sound is better than ever, thanks to tapes remastered by Mark Fuller. The packaging retains Bob Drake’s and Susanne Lewis’ original artwork, and includes a 12-page booklet featuring Lewis’s stunning lyrics.  An essential acquisition for fans of Rock in Opposition-inspired music, Cuneiform’s reissue of In This Life should be an exciting discovery for a new generation of adventurous listeners, interested in expanding the depth, breadth and genre borders of rock songs.

TRACK LISTING
01. Lycanthrope (7:17)
02. Run Amok (3:12)
03. Malaise (4:41)
04. Organism (Version II) (11:46)
05. Love (7:14)
06. The Guardian (5:31)
07. Fountain Of All Tears (7:40)

MUSICIANS
Mike Johnson – Guitar
Bob Drake – Drums, Bass & Violin
Susanne Lewis – Voice & Guitar
Shane Hotle – Keyboards
Maria Moran – Bass & Guitar
Mark Harris – Woodwinds
Lawrence Haugseth – Clarinet
~ with
Fred Frith on “Organism”

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