released 31 January 2012
"Thinking Plague lays down some of the most rhythmically complex, texturally inventive, and melodically challenging popular music of the last 30 years, and somehow makes it all sound easy and natural."
– All Music Guide
Decline and Fall is the long awaited sixth album from a group who personifies the term 'beloved underground favorites'. From the group's beginnings as a duo doing basement recording experiments nearly 30 years ago until now, Thinking Plague has always had a strong vision of their unique take on progressive rock music. Despite the very long lifespan of the band and the many years between records, the basic sound of the group and instrumentation was set early and the years since have seen interesting variations on their sound, from the stripped down approach of the earliest work to the deep layering of electronic sounds and samples of their last album.
Decline and Fall strips back a lot of the 'studio-isms' and more than ever, sounds like the work of a really powerful band. The album adds a few other new surprises, most notably the addition of wonderful vocalist Elaine Di Falco who fits right into what may be the band's most demanding job. She sings with great poise and control the band's hallmark melodic lines - passages that would trip up a lesser vocalist. Also new is keyboardist/drummer Kimara Sajn who plays with tremendous authority on both instruments (although just before finishing up the album, the group added drummer Robin Chestnut who appears on one track). Returning are long-term members Mark Harris on saxes and clarinets, Dave Willey on bass and Mike Johnson, the band's guitarist, leader and composer.
A new album by Thinking Plague is always an event; working slowly and unwaveringly, the group has released a handful of brilliant, art-rock classics. Decline and Fall is the latest of them.