Friday, April 08, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 221 - An Emotional Fish - Self Titled

By: March

Album - An Emotional Fish
Artist - An Emotional Fish
Key Players - Martin Murphy - drums. David Frew - Guitars. Enda Wyatt - bass. Geard Whelan - vocals.
Produced By - Tim Palmer

Release Date - September 24, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I bought and listen to one tune of this about 2-3 times a year and figured I needed to really give it a listen.,

Overview - Formed in Dublin Ireland in the late 1980s. The band would sign to U2's label and then have this (their debut) be re-released on Atlantic Records. They'd release two more records, each failing to live up to the prior record both in fan and critical acclaim.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens up with a terrific punchy bass right up in the listeners face. "Celebrate" is the track that sold me on the record upon first listen. Wyatt has clear, fluent notes come out of the bass. After a few bars of this great bass work Frew joins in then Murphy hits down and the band is off. It has a very bright, jingle/jangle sound to it. Whelan has a deep baritone voice that alternates from brooding to powerful. Frew has a bright ring to his guitar and the bass work remains constant. As the chorus nears it gets more urgent and the band follows suit. It all ends on a high, explosive musical moment. Just a terrific lead off track. Seriously, you'll listen again. "Grey Matter" is a little more laid back of track but the mix is high on the drums. Murphy hits them sharp and Frew and Wyatt work off one another well. The vocals are not as forced, or rushed but Whelan continues to shine with his deep voice. As the song progresses the bass and drums really feed off one another and it reaches out and grabs you. A single guitar starts up "Blue" and the first really mellow track of the album. Jil Taylor lends her voice as back up on the track (she appears on a few others as well). The band is much more laid back and Whelan and Taylor sound strong together. There is an extended harmonica section played by Earmon Murray which adds another unique touch. "Lace Virginia" has more of a focus on the bright guitar from Frew and Wyatt comes in to challenge for your attention. Whelan howls and the band works towards a more fever pace but it remains intact, rather than really breaking out. The vocal howls are a little silly as the track really grows musically, still there is little to be frustrated about on this track. Murphy lightly rolls across the drums as "Julian" begins. He plays along with Frew before Whelan comes in. We are, once more, a little laid back, but the music and vocals are pretty. The gradual crescendos to the chorus are paced well. The bass once more plays wonderfully off the guitars and drums for a solid, yet really pretty sound. Sort of soft words to use I realize, but it seems to work in this case. "All I Am" begins with a very hushed Whelan singing under the guitar from Frew. It takes close to a minute before the bass and drums join in and the track continues to be on the quiet side. It is not until the second verse does it get a little more rushed. Whelan makes the strongest case pushing vocally, but the band remains steadfast. As the song progresses it gets faster, both lyrically and musically. It really is another stand out, and right as you are ready for more, it ends. "Change" opens with Murphy rumbling across the drum kit and Wyatt really showing off on the bass. That terrific bass sound from "Celebrate" returns and then guitars and vocals start. The band is in full rock mode here. Frew chimes over on guitars and for the first time you can noticeably hear the backing vocals from the band (none is individually credited). Frew also gets the first real, "rocking" guitar solo here. After the solo the bass and drums tandem once more and the verse gets another run through. "Colours" is a much more relaxed track and Frew gets a second guitar solo here, but its more of a laid back solo, not as fast as before. The song is okay, just nothing that really jumps out at you. Wyatt rings out a few chugging bass notes as "That Demon Jive" starts. Murphy continues to hit the drums hard and Whelan seems to be a bit more gruff on this track vocally. His voice sounds a little shredded (but in a good rock and roll sort of way) Eamon Murray returns again, but this time on saxophone, another really cool variation from the bass/guitar/drums mantra. The band really clicks off one another and the track is focused and rowdy. Murphy and Frew start off "Brick it Up". Once more the band mixes the harder tracks with the mellower tempo things. Don't get me wrong, there isn't a sappy love song on here, but there are noticeable musical style differences. Just as I say/type that the band will fire off a few bars of rowdy rock before regaining composure. "Move On" is the final track on the cd. It is listed as a bonus track. It feels like a filler track honestly. It still sounds like the band, and its a song (vs some odd answering machine track or something) but it doesn't ever really get anywhere

Where are they now? - There is not a ton of information to go on. Wikipedia for example says the band is still active (with the same members) but in 2002 Whelan and Wyatt formed a new band (or seem to work with one another).

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

FDF Overall Take - I can honestly tell you this was the first time this record got listened to in full in probably 15 years. Swear to goodness. Anytime I pulled the cd off the shelf it was for "Celebrate" and/or "Change". There are some great moments on this record. The band was very tight and had the talent. Some of the guitars sound like they'd fit alongside the "Manchester" sound and the same time (or near future). More ups than downs honestly. If you dig the audio samples below, you'd dig the whole thing.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

You can buy this here.


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