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Posted: August 21st, 2006, by Chris S

Marceline has been hassling me (and all the diskant crew) to do some more music reviews and I kept putting off answering until finally I had to admit that I’m not that into music anymore. Or rather I’m not that interested in new music or listening to things that are put in my lap.
However, I am hugely into music and about 99% of it at the moment is Lungfish.
When I first got into Dischord Records, Lungfish were a total oddity among the deep back catalogue of the label that I was investigating (they still are in a lot of respects). It wasn’t an instant conversion by any means, in fact I didn’t really like them. I remember talking with someone who knows the Dischord people and he spoke incredulously of the excitement shown by Ian MacKaye when the final mix of the new Lungfish record was delivered to him. I remember we laughed.
Then I got a tape of The Unanimous Hour LP about 5 years ago maybe. I remember clearly driving in my car with a girl I had just started seeing and putting the tape in and saying to her:
“I don’t know if I like this album, I just can’t stop listening to it” like I was apologising. I don’t know why I did that but I think it was because if there’s one thing Lungfish isn’t, it’s ‘now’ music or ‘music of the moment’. It isn’t stylistically current. And when you’re impressing a lady I think it’s important to be current right?
The thing is Lungfish songs (or the later ones at any rate) don’t have any changes. For someone digging math rock and every weird time signature shit I could put my hands on in 2001, having no changes was as revolutionary and mind blowing as hearing Trout Mask Replica for the first time.
I think during the approximately 365 baths I took in 2001, I probably listened to that tape for at least 300 of them, still not really sure why. I just found, increasingly (and still so) that when I stare at all my records it tends to be Lungfish that jumps out.
There’s something really all-encompassing about the music they make. It’s for all times. It’s not like putting on AC/DC on a Saturday because you feel hyped or listening to Smog because you want to wallow in bad feeling or listening to Brian Eno to go to sleep. It seems to serve all purposes and be the right thing at all times. Again, I can’t fathom this.
I also can’t fathom what Daniel Higgs is singing about. I think the ambiguity is a big part of the band and their power in that he sings about things that, from time to time, really strike within me like it’s something I’ve heard before or I know already. It’s powerful but yet it has no feeling of lecture. The symbolism he uses rings bells in my head about bizarre cultish practise, the cosmos, power balances and religion but it’s never direct.
When I was in Australia in 2003 I was really down when I found out the band were playing Nottingham in my absence.
I asked Phil what it was like. He said he went to soundcheck and the sound engineer went through the drums and bass etc and then finally asked for guitar. Phil said as soon as the guitarist Asa played a chord it became Lungfish and he remembered why he was there. How many bands can you say that about?
I got lucky when they were added to the 2004 ATP festival. Looking across the front row I think I knew maybe 9 out of 10 of the people clutching the barrier. Live they were bizarre, requiring a certain amount of submission on the part of the listener, i.e. you had to go with it. I love bands like that and I loved them.
I had the bizarre experience of watching the sea with Higgs, Steve from Unit Ama, Neil, bassist Sean Meadows and my girlfriend later that night and I had no idea what to say to them or how to chat to them about anything which sounds completely corny but I’m not usually lost for words or freaked out by people.
Anyway, I’m not even sure what’s going on with them at the moment. Their last LP Feral Hymns is mighty. I heard they may not be operational right now, I know Higgs is playing solo shows.
The reason for writing this is that I stumbled across what might well be Dan Higgs’ only radio interview and it’s a real piece of work. Listen and enjoy!

Link to interview

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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