Sound — 7
Tomahawk has been one of my favorite bands for a while now. Their self-titled debut and their second album, "Mit Gas", gave me high expectations for "Oddfellows" - especially after the disappointing 2007 album, "Anonymous". This album marks a semi-reunion of sorts, as well as adding bassist Trevor Dunn, who replaced Kevin Rutmanis. Personally, I prefer Rutmanis, but Dunn is an excellent replacement, having previously worked with singer Mike Patton in Fantmas and Mr. Bungle. The actual music in the album ranges in genre and style, ranging from jazz to straight-up rock. Some notable songs include "Rise Up Dirty Waters", for its jazzy verse leading into an explosive barrage of guitar and Patton's gritty vocals; The title track, "Oddfellows", for its slinking 7/8 verse and emphatic chorus; and "South Paw" for its varied sounds that somehow make a straightforward rock song.
Lyrics — 8
Mike Patton is undoubtedly one of the most significant singers in rock music (and other genres), and his work on "Oddfellows" is no exception. Patton's lyrics are perfectly tailored for the music, and at times one can't help but feel that he is the centerpiece of the band. A good example of this is the song "Choke Neck", where Patton's voice overshadows every other instrument to make for an in your face rock track. Most of the lyrical work on the album is good, but there are a couple tracks that fall flat, such as "I Can Almost See Them" where the lyrics seem out of place and uninteresting.
Overall Impression — 8
"Oddfellows" might not be as good as Tomahawk's 2001 self-titled debut, but it is still a solid album that deserves a listen. Fans of Patton's other works may be disappointed by the lack of the signature weirdness and experimental sounds that can be found in Fantmas or Mr. Bungle. Some of the more significant songs on the album are "Oddfellows", "South Paw", "Waratorium", and "Rise Up Dirty Waters", for their varied styles and musical quality that calls for repeat listenings. The best part of this album is also in some ways its worst part. The album is a straightforward rock album which is a great departure from the Native American sounds of "Anonymous". At the same time this is the album's greatest weakness, as it lacks the zany lyrics and music found in previous Tomahawk songs, such as "Harelip" from "Mit Gas" or "Jockstrap" from the self-titled album. If this album were lost I would definitely buy it again.