steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Silt Fish

"Zabaranda" CDEP

Public Eyesore

Genres: folk, sea ditties, freaky spook folk

Bryan Day / PE
3803 S 25th St.
Omaha, NE 68107

Feb 10 - 16 2003

I can't quite put my finger on what's so appealing about Silt Fish's Zabaranda.  It's a very bizarre work, an album full of weird folky stuff unlike what the Public Eyesore label usually produces.  It kind of sounds like the type of sea ditties you'd expect from a bunch of senile old pirates on a ship headed to Hell.  You've got guitar and vocals stuff with other instruments in the background (some flute?  some cello?  some accordion?).  And there are melodies, mostly minor key - but the whole thing is so eerie, so spooky, that it doesn't seem that different from the Public Eyesore's more experimental material.

The lyrics further convey the spooky image of the album.  Frightening narratives about fantasy worlds filled with angels and other things, the songs tell stories of isolation and loneliness.  The Sheffield-based band's creepy, British vocals further enhance the freakiness of the narratives, though are hard to decipher for those not attuned to the accent.

Let's take a look at the title track.  It starts off with a bird chirping and then quickly introduces a funereal church organ along with some wind-like electronics and vocals about a Kafka-esque isolation.  The words depict many bizarre, creepy images that help enhance the effect.  Guitars back the organs, strengthening the frightening atmosphere.  Eventually the organs are stopped, only to be replaced by bizarre, ritualistic moans and drones.  After awhile, the organs make a return, even creepier before, and the track ends on a climax that will make the dilapidated haunted house you're living in fall apart and collapse into rubble around you.

Altogether, Zabaranda is the most  eerie album I think I've ever heard.  Through the use of dark instrumentation, creepy Dracula-esque vocals, frightening lyrics, and a nice horror movie atmosphere, Silt Fish have crafted some of the most mind-fuckingly fucked songs ever committed to tape.  Why did I write this review at night????


Fun Fact: Not only do Silt Fish make positively spooky music, but they are also eerie visual artists.  You can see some of their bizarre artwork here.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 songs, distributed by CD Baby, released 2000]