The Jazz Butcher
The Jazz Butcher Press The Defender, Saint Michael's College - March 16, 1988
Published: The Defender, Saint Michael's College (Winooski, Vermont, USA) March 16, 1988 Credit: Kate Flaherty Source:
Album Review: Fishcotheque Item added: 2023-09-08

The Jazz Butcher's latest has the right idea, wrong sound

Credit: David Whittemore

How good can an album be if it is recorded by a man who calls himself “The Jazz Butcher?” In his latest album, “Fishcotheque,” he has the right idea with his style of music, presenting a laid-back brand of funky pop. But his vocals are wrong for some of the songs.

For the most part, the music is good instrumentally. However, on the slower tracks The Jazz Butcher is out of key and grates on your ears.

The best song on “Fishcoteque” is “Next Move Sideways.” The horn section and saxophone by Alex Green create a light jazzy feel in this song and in the other faster tracks from the album, such as “Chickentown” and “Living in a Village.” Although The Jazz Butcher seems to be a weak singer, the upbeat music helps carry the songs.

Though the band’s sound hasn’t matured yet, it has the talent to develop into sophisticated pop. The instrumentation, for example, has polish and style i in songs like “Next Move Sideways.” The band should try to carry this sound all the way though the album, but they don’t. Instead they go off on tangents and experiment with styles that don’t work for them.

One example is “The Best Way,” in which the band tries to sing/ rap their way through the song, like the Clash did in “Magnificent Seven” on the album “Sandinista.” While “Magnificent Seven” is a terrific song, “The Best Way” flops, because the band just wasn’t meant to rap. In addition, they’ re rapping horrendous lyrics, the main body of which is the phrase, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Another thing The Jazz Butcher can’t sing is ballads. On the faster tracks, the tempo can hold him up. However, on slow songs like “Swell” and “Susie,” his voice is laid bare, and he is annoyingly out of tune.

The Jazz Butcher isn’t terrible. He and his band have the potential to excel in their own area--fast, jazzy pop. They should stay away from areas where they are weak, namely ballads and especially rap.

It’s good for bands to explore new styles of music, but if something doesn’t work, they should know enough to avoid it. The Jazz Butcher didn’t, so “Fishcoteque” is a disjointed album without a definitive style. However, it certainly does have its moments.

Kate Flaherty reviews new alternative music from the record library of WWPV-FM.

Having ended up on Creation Records, which I took as a bit of a validation, I was keen to get as far away from all those "w" words that had followed my group around. The sessions were chaotic and funny. What disappoints me is that it came out sounding so SMOOTH and tidy. But I like Fishcotheque; I wish there more records as good as it.
[Fishcotheque cover thumbnail]
creation_records, Relativity Records

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