Monday, October 29, 2007


Here are some more reviews.

Good luck saving the Lone Star State with anything other than a good old fashioned Texan ass kickin’. As a quartet indie pop band from Denton, Texas, Fishboy is perhaps ill-prepared for taking on the second largest state in the United States by themselves but they’re quite capable of smashing out a few amazing pop hooks or two. I hear a lot of They Might Be Giants influence on Fishboy’s tracks but whether or not that’s on purpose is way beyond me.
- J-Sin

Written by Fense
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Live at The Tank: HHBTM Showcase at CMJ’07

Your eyes may deceive you, but it is important to note that Jason Schwartzman does not front this Texas band. Instead, Fishboy is fronted by Eric Michener. The group’s name, oddly enough, comes from a nickname much like that of this here site—Fense was my radio personality during my time at KZUU—and was given to Michener years ago after fulfilling a dare at an aquarium from then fellow middle-school students.

Denton can be found in the outskirts of Dallas. It’s a town whose non-commercial radio station is known for playing jazz—almost strictly and unapologetically, according to Michener, who hails from the suburbia town. We sat down after their performance and had a brief chat about non-commercial radio, as is the norm at CMJ. And I also dropped the name Patience Please as a recent signee to the Happy Happy Birthday To Me (HHBTM) label on which Fishboy resides.

Fishboy will, beyond any question or doubt, light a fire under your belly, make you shuffle your feet, nod your head, wiggle your arms, and possibly even clap your hands. Their performance is poppy and edgy and fun. They jump and squirm and toss their heads around. Their performance, according to Michener as they took the stage, was a Rock Opera in its entirety. That rock opera is titled Farewell Albatross and is their latest release on HHBTM. Listen and/or buy: you won’t be disappointed.

We’ve reported on Fishboy a few times, namely because they keep blowing us away at the Athens PopFest. Since then, we’ve been oh-so-eager to get our hands on the Texas band’s new release, the twee-pop rock opera Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll. And holy god, is it incredible.

First, of course, the story: singer Eric Michener, aka Fishboy, apparently had been singing songs since before he was born. His father was so impressed that he gave him recording equipment and told him that one day his songs would save Texas. Later, while skydiving, the ghost of Buddy Holly visited him and told him that he would write the song that would, indeed, save Texas. So Fishboy gets a job at a taco stand to raise money to tour, where he falls in love. The girl convinces him to go on a crime spree robbing banks, all the while playing shows along his journey. Eventually, Fishboy gets caught and is sent to jail, where he starts a new life, but not before inadvertently writing the song that would become his destiny.

And that’s the simplified version. The story is so much more complicated than that, and missing even a single line means completely losing the plot. Yeah, pretty impressive to do in less than 33 minutes. It might not be entirely logical, but at least it’s more plausible than The Who’s Tommy. I kid, I kid.

At any rate, those 33 minutes are complete twee-pop bliss. Ridiculously energetic, emphatic, and adorable. Fishboy ranges from pensive “Blackout,” in which Fishboy waxes nostalgic against a quiet guitar and piano, to the absolutely frenetic “The Details of Our Trip,” in which drums, keyboards, and guitars thrash and clash against each other. But mostly the latter. And often with a ton of joyous piano. Said pianos in “Thought Balloons” define the aesthetic of the living room dance party. And horns? Forget about it. They make “Proper Name Spelling Bee” absolutely epic. Consequently, Fishboy excells at grandeur and bigness. The final song, “Albatross,” swells to an enormous close, as a choir cries out to a magnitude not often seen from a twee-pop band.

Again, Albatross: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll is astounding. As silly as it sounds, this album should save quite a few people, if not entire states and countries.



Juliar said...

I heartily agree.

fishbulb said...

thanks for the mad props Juliar!!

Bernie said...

Yeah, it saves me right now, maybe it saves my country to duhr itsch aurselfen! Great music, so glad I stumbled over this at e-music!