Friday, September 04, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 156 - School of Fish - School of Fish

By: March

Album - School of Fish
Artist - School of Fish
Key Players - Josh Clayton-Felt - Guitar, Drums, Drum Programming, Drum Machine, Vocals, Michael Ward - Guitar, Drums, Drum Machine, Drum Programming, Vocals, Vocals (Background), M.P. aka Michael Petrak - Drums, Dominic Nardini - Bass
Produced By - John Porter

Release Date - April 1, 1991

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I always loved the single "Three Strange Days" but never bought the whole cd. In recent weeks I stumbled upon the cd for $1.00. It was well spent.

Overview - Los Angeles, California based "School of Fish" released their debut record in the Spring of 1991. The band would find moderate radio success with their single "Three Strange Days". The band would release a second record, but it didn't sell well and the band would dissolve in 1994 as a result.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- The album opens up with an acoustic guitar driven track simply called "Intro". A lone electric guitar comes over the percussive beats and some simple short lyrics before some "swirling" of guitars "3 Strange Days" begins. One guitar holds a fuzzy loop as a second chops over the top. The drums click off and the crunch of the guitar is immediate. The lyrics are chipper but the focus is on the crunchy guitar. There are some nice harmonies at various times, not when you'd expect them. M.P keeps a solid, yet simple back beat. After an instrumental break down the vocals get a little more urgent. The guitar really keeps the song "full" for the duration. The chorus is repeated as another run of guitars fades the song out. "Talk Like Strangers" begins with no gap on a lone guitar and 4x4 drum beat. The bass chugs underneath and Clayton-Felt has a deeper drone to his voice. The bass as noted is up more in the mix on this track feeding off the drums which keep a steady pace. As the track begins to wind down there a percussive break down and each instrument slowly drops off the track. The band continues with the songs running in to each other and "Deep End" begins. Once again the guitars screech over the top and the drums are hit hard. As the guitars work, the second goes to a more focused punch on the notes. As the lyrics begin the bass once more becomes a little more prominent. It is not flashy as it allows for the guitar riffs to echo over the top. This is the first track to not segway into the next track and it ends with seagull calls. Starting off with some shouting count of of 1-2-3-4 "King Of The Dollar" begins. Its a more rocking tune that we are used to so far on the record. The drums are crisp but they don't flash out of the standard mold. "Speechless" more laid back, but once again uses the dual guitars well. As one holds long notes, the second chops out more of a rhythm. There are times when the guitars even seem to sound like a string section. A very cool effect. The harmonies are strong as well. "Wrong" opens with a more sequenced drum beat before it crunches down. Another strong rocking track with buzzy guitars chugging bass. The band does a nice job of rotating acoustic and electric guitars. The brightness of the acoustic cuts over the buzzy guitar at various times during the song. "Rose Colored Glasses" keeps the strong interplay of the guitars running. "Under The Microscope" has a a more plodding musical feel and the lyrics are full, but seemed to be sung at a slower pace than they could be if that makes sense. The song has a big enough sound that is for sure. "Fell" ditches the electric guitar for acoustics showcasing some diversity within the band on its overall sound. "Euphoria" closes out the record. The track, the longest on the record starts off slow enough with a simple back beat and the guitars the song slowly builds with more guitars and a little more driving tempo as it slowly builds, but really could have erupted, they just chose to not do that. A strong album closer.

Where are they now? - Micheal Ward has worked with artist like The Wallflowers and John Hiatt, playing guitar on various records. Josh Clayton-Felt released a few solo records but towards the end of 1999 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He would pass away on January 19, 2000. I was unable to find information on the other members.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - There are some shining moments on the record for sure, but its easy hear/understand why "3 Strange Days" was the albums big moment. It is also easy to understand why there is a cult following for Clayton-Felt, he has a very strong, and sadly overlooked vocal ability.

School of Fish on myspace.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

***The mp3's have been removed**
Deep End
3 Strange Days

You can find the record is out of print, but it is very easy to find. Try here for example.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request


At 9:57 AM, Blogger Ryan Spaulding said...

Great Pick man, and a highly-recommended cheap snag (good representation of this era) in a discount bin.

Anyone interested may also want to take a look at this: Remembering School of Fish

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous matt said...

At the radio station, we always played the intro track prior to "3 Strange Days" - so it is weird if I hear it on the radio without that intro!

I did not realize (despite owning the disc all of these years) that Michael Ward was a SOF member - I only knew him from his work with The Wallflowers!


Post a Comment

<< Home