L.S.U.

Dogfish Jones

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AllMusic Review by

After the uninspired, unsuccessful stint with The Aunt Bettys, Knott reclaimed the L.S.U. mantle for another rock opera, the sea fable Dogfish Jones. Initially, the record was more talked about than heard: Flying Tart, the label for which it was recorded, had gone bankrupt, leaving Dogfish Jones in temporary limbo. When it was finally released by Light after a several month delay, it suffered from limited distribution and scant availability. Which is a shame, because Dogfish Jones is a step back toward the inspired psychosis of early L.S.U. Though there are occasional pauses for acoustic-based ballads like "Sea Shell Sally", the bulk of Dogfish Jones is given over to wild-eyed, manic numbers like "Magical Rainbow Door" and the grim, Peter Murphyish "Greensea Island". "Tell of the Well" boasts the same sort of jabbering verses as "The House of Love". Though the story line is considerably more muddled than The Grape Prophet, Dogfish Jones displays a daring and recklessness that hasn't been evident in Knott's work since Cash in Chaos World Tour. The record is dominated by Gene Eugene's haunting, funereal organ and Knott's loose-stringed acoustic. Its minimal production recalls Wakin' Up The Dead, and it's two-verse songs have a droning, mantra-like quality that is distinctly unsettling. Most bizarrely, the record features Knott's father Howard giving creaky voice to two Irish sea ballads that seem the product of Ween's The Mollusk. The songs rely heavily on Knott's acoustic guitar, layering several electric guitar lines over his plaintive strum. If it were released after This is the Healing, Dogfish Jones would sound like the logical bridge between that record and The Grape Prophet. But coming as it does under the radar and almost as an afterthought, Dogfish Jones is L.S.U.'s least presitigious release, and their most undeservedly ignored.

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