On its umpteenth release, Baltimore’s Lungfish stay pretty close to their standard formula while throwing in a few new wrinkles. They have been around long enough to show a few wrinkles here and there. The standard Lungfish formula finds the band locking into song-length grooves. Entire songs are often one long part that rarely changes. It’s hypnotic when they get it right (they usually do) and quite boring when they don’t. Even the most monotonous Lungfish compositions are usually saved by the magnetic, crazed persona of vocalist Daniel Higgs. He’s something of a messianic figure in the underground rock world. One of the few enigmatic geniuses we have left.
Lungfish falls into the same trap that many other bands that have enjoyed rather long careers have found themselves snared in. Every record sounds the same. I can honestly say that I like all of the Lungfish records, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve heard this all before. Necrophones bears a strong resemblance to their last record, The Unanimous Hour, which sounds much like its predecessor, Artificial Horizon, and so forth and so on. The new wrinkle that I alluded to earlier is the use of acoustic guitars on a few songs, but the song structures remain largely the same.
So, in the end, we are left with a standard Lungfish record. It is not better or worse than anything else they have released in the past. It is, however, solid, and that may be why I continue to buy Lungfish records.
Dischord Records, 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007