Saturday, March 12, 2011
Citizen Fish - Goods
It's so weird reviewing ska, I swear. I used to be ONLY into ska related music and nothing else even mattered to me, and now it's really awkward for me. Sometimes it's alright, but usually it's just weird. But, Citizen Fish aren't really too bad. Their side of the Leftover Crack split was pretty decent, and they're British and that's pretty cool. I was caught off guard by their style, really. I assumed they'd be all stza-core, but they're pretty laid back and have horns and such. The singer is Dick Lucas from the Subhumans, so as you'd expect heir songs are pretty politically charged and question society, which is the cool thing about a lot of ska-punk anyway. Citizen Fish does nothing to ride the coattails of the popularity acquired by The Subhumans, though, and the bands are definitely different enough to merit their own separates groups of fans. And now they have a new album out, and that means I have to decide whether I think Goods is good(s) or not.
The vocals are pretty low impact, overall. Dick Lucas just sings in his normal speaking voice, without trying to put a strain on anything. It works because his speaking voice makes for a decent singing voice. Their instrumentals aren't too complex, and they generally follow a pattern of upstrokes, power chords, up strokes, power chords. So it's basically ska, punk, ska, punk, and occasionally some weird, slow metal element to the song. The songs are slow, and have a really casual, traditional ska feel at times. The hornlines aren't the worst things in the world, but they're not terribly involved at all. When reviewing horn-y albums, I usuaully look for stuff I couldn't personally do on trombone, but I'll find none of that here.
There isn't too much variety song to song, but most of the songs offer a decent listening experience anyway. My main problem is that the punk/hardcore punk parts don't sound nearly heavy enough, and the horns could use some double tracking or a better mic. Everything is relentlessly low impact, and it takes away from the possible powerfulness of the songs. The song "Overseas" is a great example of a song having parts that you know are meant to sound heavy, but they come off as casual and soft, like the rest of the material.
There's a bit of a lack of noteworthy songs for this album. Most tracks are pretty decent, but there's not many I'd personally care too much about. The song "Click" has a cool, mysterious feel to it. And the bass guitar sounds really nice against the rest of the instrumentals, and the trombone definitely compliments the mystic chord progression of upstrokes. This is music made for Mustard Plug fans, and I know some of them so i could definitely recommend it to them. But, it's definitely not targeted at me. The only kind of ska I really enjoy is stuff like Stuck Lucky, A Billion Ernies, Fatter Than Albert, We Are The Union, and The Flaming Tsunamis. You know, bands that are barely ska at all, and are mostly just hardcore or pop punk. I don't very much get into the dancey ska music. But I know it serves an important purpose, and at the shows I tend to get into it quite a bit. The songs "Marker Pen" and "Fearless" are like perfect dance numbers, too. The former being for skanking and the latter being for more of a groove dance feel. I wouldn't sit at home playing video games while listening to it though, I need heavier stuff for that.
The album closer is like a four hour long song, or it's more like four minutes. It's all the same to me. It sounds just as cool and mysterious as the others, which makes it less cool in general, but it's still a good song. This album is OKAY, I guess. I'm not into this kind of music. But I get why people are, and all. I could definitely recommend it for ska fans, so get at it. You can find it at interpunk, or wherever else you choose to look.