Silt Fish

Zabaranda

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Eerie is something that you perceive as utterly strange and yet exerts fascination, something that feels so wrong (physically or artistically, not morally, mind you) and yet you can't help but come back to it. Eerie is Silt Fish. Eerie is wonderful. Imagine, if you will, campfire folk singers in the middle of H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham, entertaining themselves while waiting for Yog Sothoth to appear, or Pere Ubu's David Thomas trapped like Alice in a collection of Edward Gorey's poems and drawings. Zabaranda, Silt Fish's first album, is pure delight for the strangely inclined. Mr. Quayle, Andy K, and Jez have concocted a delightful batch of spooky songs. Acoustic guitar, bass, light percussion work, ghostly backing vocals, and the occasional synthesizer sweep accompany stories about monstrous headaches, road pavement gone wrong, shaky houses, and "Grandma's Dressing Gown." Mr. Quayle sings in a thick British accent (the group is based in Sheffield), applying Bonzo Dog Band's Viv Stanshall's distinguished enunciation to the aforementioned Thomas' eccentric inflections. Melodies and arrangements keep a generally straightforward face, but there is always a light twitching at the corner of the mouth, a sparkle in the eye, a wart on the nose revealing that the song is not as normal as it tries to look. Both lyrics and delivery are steeped in dark humor, a cross between Monty Python and Gorey's tales. The only stranger thing you are likely to hear is Bob Drake's H.P. Lovecraft-inspired album, The Skull Mailbox. And that's the biggest compliment possible. Highly recommended, despite the average sound quality and CD-R medium.

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