Review: Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit – An F In Health

Thomas O’Neill Grathwol is a 20 year-old Minnesota resident with some seriously warped ideas on music. Presumably recorded from his bedroom or some very basic recording studio, Grathwol is perfect if you like your music with a DIY ethic matched by bags of imagination.

Drums sound like saucepans, there are samples of obscure film dialogue whilst Grathwol regularly seems to be cracking up when he’s singing in that deranged freakfolk voice of his. Some moments of clarity do stand out though. ‘Giants Of ’93’ features that rarest of things, an addictive ukelele melody. The blissed-out folk for ‘The Father Of Foul Smells’ and dreamy synths for ‘Goodwill’ are further highlights. However, novelty ditties such as hip-hop with flu track ‘I Gotta Cold’ (key line: “I gotta blow my nose”) are only funny the first time.

‘An F In Health’ belongs in the same institution as early Baby Bird or Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti for sheer invention and lunacy. As you can imagine, the flow of the record is quite haphazard but there are rewards along the way and – since the EP is free to download anyway – there’s no risk involved.

Web Sites:
Rack & Ruin Records Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit Artist and Download Page
Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit MySpace

Further Listening:
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Baby Bird, Devendra Banhart

1 Response to “Review: Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit – An F In Health”

  1. 1 Dean November 11, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I like the Baby Bird reference, like him, these recordings on the album reviewed were outtakes, and so they don’t flow together as well as his other releases. Check out some of his other music on Rack & Ruin, also please grab his upcoming release “Grapefruit Gun” which will be out very soon!

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