Weekly listens from Fish



Strike Hard, Young Diamond

Somebody in the room is not only aware of the existence of Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade, but obviously big fans. Ooh-ing choral sweeps with the voices of children, not to mention a fairly Spencer Krug-ish way of punchy nasal singing by Dean Povinski, bring about such easy comparisons. That’s the impression you’ll first get listening to this pretty, uptempo post-punk pop record, of perhaps having been here before — but what the hell, it’s a nice view. I’ll certainly take this Canadian sound as the next-wave norm over the wah-she-shaw growling of the Pickleback clones.

But then comes the song “Drunken Heart,” smoother and less spastic, and all of a sudden we’re hearing Wildlife as its own band, just a straight-on reflector song where the drum serves as a heartbeat as Povinski searches, almost weepingly, for his “happy ending” despite being run down by his drunken heart. It’s here the album begins to sound less trendy (sorry about that) and feel more sincere. The next thing that wakes me up is the experimental track, “Synesthesia.” Like the moans of numerous blended ghosts circling the room, it’s actually scary the first time you hear it. Less creepy, “Move to the City” is a fight-y little anthem that reminds me of all the people we’ve lost, though here the target is suits and professionals, whereas most of our friends move because of weather. There’s another fresh one called “American Eyes” I bet you’d like, too, a passionate and wistful bit of shipwreck nostalgia floating on a bed of rippling acoustic guitar.

The second “side” of the album drops in an homage to the Cure and Jane’s Addiction, but, again, sweet enough. “Matches” is basically a shotgunned Red Bull, the perfect weekend starter the way rock, not dance, songs used to be. As you can see, I can’t stop thinking of other bands with this on the stereo, but not every recipe has to be monkey-brain sushi — sometimes, maybe especially this week, I’ll take the familiar complexity of Canadian rock bands girls can like.

3 ½ out of 5 Stars

Old schooL:
leonard cohen

New Skin for the Old Ceremony [1974]

“Chelsea Hotel #2” is the most famous emergent from this perfect collection, his rather dirty ode to an encounter with Janis Joplin he came to regret in terms of indiscretion. Lesser known is the amazingly bouncy “Lover Lover Lover,” which is almost the best song a person can play in a car on the highway, immediately singable and twice as warm as catchy. “Field Commander Cohen” and the brilliantly-penned “There is a War” also show off the wild creative depths of which Cohen is capable, especially with line like “There is a war between those who say there is a war and those who say there isn’t.” Also: “I guess you call this love; I call it room service.”  Ye-ouch.

But the one that makes the room go quietest is always “Who By Fire,” an incantational duet with Janis Ian influenced by traditional Jewish prayer and music. In case you’re mourning anything right now, you might want to head to YouTube and throw it on.

5 out of 5 Stars



All Content Copyright © SEE Magazine 2008 About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use Contest Disclaimer