Sometimes having the right guy at the controls can make all the difference. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet had made some great records with Coyote Shivers as producer, but for 1993's Sport Fishin': The Lure of the Bait, the Luck of the Hook, the trio left their Canadian homeland and booked time in Chicago with engineer and gadfly Steve Albini. Albini did nothing to alter the group's musical approach, but on Sport Fishin' he gave their recordings a sonic backbone the Shadowy Men had never managed before. Albini's talent for capturing great guitar and drum sounds did wonders to beef up the tone of Brian Connelly's six-string work (the song title "We're Not a Fucking Surf Band" might have been a bit much, but here the protest seems justified), and numbers like "Farbs," "That Wuz Ear Me Callin' a Horse," and "Honey, You're Wasting Ammo" allowed him to make the most of the more robust audio. Bassist Reid Diamond and drummer Don Pyle were similarly well served in the mix, and the group's collective performances rank with their very best, technically dazzling and full of wit and imagination. Sport Fishin' is SMOASP's hardest-hitting recording, and the band managed to do it without losing their personality along the way; the songs still owe their greatest inspiration to several generations of instrumental pop and rock, and the fact the band had the opportunity to crank up the amps and hit things harder doesn't rob them of their melodic sensibility or their wit. Sport Fishin': The Lure of the Bait, the Luck of the Hook would prove to be the last album from Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, but it saw them going out on a high note.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming