‘Something in the Ether’ from Fish & Bird - vital and inventive(June 25, 2014)
‘Something in the Ether’ from Fish & Bird – an album from a band unafraid to throw a rich variety of influences and genres into the mix. Little here is ‘as expected’ and depending on your expectations, it’s a blend that confuses, surprises but ultimately attracts. This Canadian band uses its freedom of restriction to produce a harmonisation of folk rock, plus a dozen other touches, to deliver a vital and inventive album.
Fish & Bird are Taylor Ashton (vocals, banjo, acoustic guitar) Adam Iredale-Grey (fiddle, vocals) Ryan Boeur (electric and acoustic guitars) Ben Kelly (drums, percussion) and Zoe Guigueno (upright bass, vocals). Together they move effortlessly between folk and rock, while adding jazzy touches and lyrical experimentation along the way.
The opener ‘Cold Salty’ takes you straight into their singular sound, and while you’re trying to work out the myriad of hovering influences in that one and ‘Lake’, you’re on your way to the title track, ‘Something in the Ether’. This song casts a web of rock-tinged folk, potent vocals, slicing electric guitar and driving drums, and then along comes ‘Lost’ with equally observant lyrics, insistent beat and finely-placed fiddle accents. Fish & Bird’s musical maze is intricate and involving, and all the while Taylor Ashton’s intense vocals breathe life into the lyrics. To understand, listen to the involving ‘Lonely Resonator’, the profound ‘Boots’ or ‘Rivers’ as they build encompassing images.
However you take your folk, straight or with a twist of something different, ‘Something in the Ether’ from Fish & Bird should definitely join your collection. I strongly suggest you give it a listen: www.fishandbird.ca
Reviewer: Tom Franks