July 00, 1992
Release: Condition Blue
Well, the folks down at Sky in Atlanta have licensed this corker from the British indie label Creation Records. And what has elevated that discerning label from the competition is certainly present here: guitars. More specifically, the sound of many guitars. They shimmer and swirl around, through, in and out of the JB's nine glorious tunes. At any one moment, there may be six different folks employing a barrage of six and 12- string instruments. And with stellar support from the likes of Alex Lee (lead guitar) and Joe Allen (bass) from Strangelove and Paul Mulreany (drums) from the The Blue Aeroplanes, Fish has assembled a dynamic backing band. Old bandmate O'Keefe even shreds a lead guitar on " Harlan ."
Pat's music (and vocals) reminds me of a cross between the Go-Betweens and Robyn Hitchcock, only with more edge and the keen addition of Alex Green 's saxophones, which swoop and compliment the squall of guitar-invoked melodies (instead of dominating them like they did on Fishcotheque.) But, again, the real thrill is the guitars, employed here like a garrote: clean, and dangerously effective. Witness their delicate nature as they cascade and slice on the mid-tempo "Harlan" or the beautiful instrumental ballad " Monkeyface ." The latter could be soundtrack music for some film noir from France circa 1964, maybe even a deliberate play on Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The tone is all moody and intriguing with its vocal-sample and spoken-word interplay and the cer accordjan appergio as the song builds to its conclusion. But the real smoker in the single " She's A Yo-Yo " with its rip-roaring bouncy guitar tweaked with a proper dollop of feedback. This--and the rest of the CD--is the kind of blue condition one sees in the high intensity of a fire.