Doofy -
NR
'Merriment' isn't one to write home about, as close to a dud release from Chesnutt as you'll find.

NR
Doofy -
NR
This early collaboration album features my darling Lambchop as backing band but despite the best efforts of all involved you can't help but come out the experience with more respect for just what Kurt Wagner brings to the party - as Chesnutt is an ok substitute but the magic is lacking.

NR
Doofy -
70
Here's where everything feels more structured and polished again for Chesnutt, with that Lambchop influence to the fore on 'Girl's Say' and 'Bandcamp'.

The tone is a little brighter and more hopeful...though it wouldn't remain for too long.
Doofy -
72
'Drunk' lives up to its title by being a bit sloppy and unpredictable - more one to cherry pick the better offerings from (the acoustic gem 'Supernatural' and the R.E.M'ish 'Naughty Fatalist').

A transitional album.
Doofy -
74
This is where Vic rediscovers his mojo and unleashes those painful, thunderous guitar solos again.

'Fodder on Her Wings' is one of his most intriguing vocal performances, hushed and ghostly, one of his rare songs that instantly captivates.

The album isn't perfect, it's a bit of an ungainly sprawl, but probably worthy of a top 4 placing among his discog.
Doofy -
72
This debut is as raw and wounded sounding as you'd expect, but there's something arresting about Chesnutt's strangled yelp of a voice and way with intonation.

Maybe you could criticise the album for being a lot of the same pretty but painful thing, and certainly it's a lot of verbiage to consume. As much as I have time for this one I can see how off-putting this may be as an entry point.
Doofy -
80
'West of Rome' is instantly a shade more warm and fleshed out than the debut 'Little', and there's even some hints of variety (the ramshackle 'Steve Willoughby' must have been a big influence on the Lambchop debut).

'Sponge' gets damn close to rocking out in a J.Mascis fashion but the most bare bones tunes still suit Vic the best here; the title track is proto-Sparklehorse and 'Miss Mary' is undiluted trad folk that provides a platform for an intense vocal outpouring.
Doofy -
81
'At the Cut' goes one better than the return to form 'North Star Deserter' and challenges 'Rome' and 'Is the Actor Happy?' for the title of 'best Chesnutt'.

For a start 'Coward' is unquestionably his strongest scene setter - and a standout opener helps any album. 'Flirted with You All My Life' is possibly the man's most famous song and certainly the one to most succinctly address Chesnutt's relationship with death, which tragically always felt 'breath on the back of your neck' close for Vic. ... read more
Doofy -
87
'Is the Actor Happy?' is a huge breakthrough after the unsure footed 'Drunk' - this album is so confident its disarming...where did this come from?

Perhaps it was the influence of good friend Michael Stipe but suddenly there's a razor sharp pop sensibility and a breadth of styles all pulled off with ease. Hugely ambitious, the country rock of 'Gravity of the Situation' leads to the delicate ballad 'Sad Peter Pan', the peppy sparkling 'Onion Soup' rolls into the eccentric harmonica sporting ... read more
Doofy -
76
More good stuff from Thurston - if you don't like guitar solos you need not apply though.
Doofy -
NR
All girth and no finesse?

What happened to the Deft Ones I used to bop? NR
Doofy -
69
You can hear that Joe Talbot is throwing more and more into each subsequent release but with the music supporting him stuck in a holding pattern the 'Law of Diminishing Returns' has well and truly clicked in.

"I see a lot of gammon in the village...only one thing to do in the village, just say toodle-do to the village....toodle-fucking-do"

When such easy target 'open goal' sentiments are matched to a tune Noddy and his pal Big Ears would have found embarrassing things can all come ... read more
Doofy -
77
To release a church organ album that never once sounds hymnal is something close to genius in itself.
Doofy -
NR
All length and no girth?

NR
Doofy -
74
Kinda wish more of the album was like 'Friend of the Devil' but for hippy bs this is about the pinnacle.
Doofy -
79
The weakest of the Fleet Foxes albums so far and a return/retreat to the brighter, more easy-breezy melodious style of the debut.

One of the only bands I could name where all those reservations/'complaints' hardly matter or indeed register for the most part - this approach suits them , it always has, so this is a very enjoyable if undemanding listen.

When some extra unexpected instrumentation or melodic passages are added to the mix, as they are on the standouts 'Featherweight' and 'Cradling ... read more
Doofy -
47
So what's up with '85s 'Phantasmagoria'? This is where the band go full on 'cheesy goth' and I can't quite stomach an entire album of this style.

Some of the instrumentation choices are really grating, like the band have become a Haunted House Disney ride - this is worryingly glossy stuff. If the band have retained a sense of humour then it's well hidden unless of course the whole approach is slightly tongue in cheek.

Either way this is far too rich a bat blood soaked confection for I.
Doofy -
71
'Strawberries' keeps to a similar format to its scattershot predecessor and somehow, once more, the band get away with it and come up trumps; variety is their friend.

Again the standout tracks sit on completely opposite ends of the scale; 'Ignite' is a woah-oh punk rock romper stomper and 'Life Goes On' predates a lot of '80s pop of a similar jangly mould, impressively bettering most of it.
Doofy -
72
'The Black Album' sees the band start the process of breaking away from the punk style, which at this stage must have felt as restrictive as a straight-jacket.

This release still boasts a few punk rippers (see 'Sick of This and That') but then you also have the gothic art rock of '13th Floor Vendetta' (which boasts rippling piano that recalls Mike Garson's contributions to Bowie tracks like 'Aladdin Sane') and the epic closer 'Curtain Call' which feels like proto post-punk.

It's one of ... read more
Doofy -
49
Following the excellent debut 'Music for Pleasure' is reductive in its eagerness to reassert this band are 'definitely punk'.

It's not as bad as some make out but is largely average - saying that, in a track like 'Don't Cry Wolf' I hear a lot of the things I like about The Wipers in the mix, so it's not all a wasted effort for me.
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