Will Sergeant

Weird as Fish/La Vie Luonge

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Easily the most obscure release out of anything to do with Echo & the Bunnymen and its individual members, Weird as Fish wasn't even a formal record as such when cassette copies were made in the late '70s -- and as it is, Will Sergeant himself only made seven of them. A series of private home recordings made via the rudimentary equipment available at the time, Weird as Fish reflected Sergeant's then particular obsessions, specifically the Residents and Lou Reed (the latter through his notorious Metal Machine Music). It's not quite accurate to say that Weird as Fish is a combination of the two, but the version released formally 25 years later on Ochre Records (Sergeant's liner notes explain that this is Paul Simpson's copy in particular, as each edition was slightly different) certainly bears similarities. It's all instrumental, in keeping with Sergeant's future solo endeavors over the years, consisting of an often striking series of overdubbed performances that for both its place of recording and Sergeant's young age are really not all that bad. It's not quite the birth of the Bunnymen -- the specific focus that the band format would bring to his work is absent -- but the modern psychedelia that would characterize his future work is in place. Murky and atmospheric riffs; primitive beatbox, keyboard, or bass rhythms providing undertow; open-ended guitar workouts not all that removed from where no wave New York was going -- these may be sketches for only a few friends but they're no less enjoyable for that, and more than once ("Fuzztronic," "Darkness") he suggests where later fans like Roy Montgomery would end up. For the reissue, Sergeant included a further bonus from early Bunnymen years -- Le Via Luonge, the instrumental soundtrack to the short film of the same name showing the group on tour in Europe, as well as two further unused songs from those sessions. More elegant and with a clearer recording, it's a fine bridge between Weird as Fish and Themes for Grind.

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