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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Professional Fishstick (CD)

The funny thing is, I actually ate some fish sticks just yesterday in the form of one of those frozen dinner dealios that only cost like a buck at the supermarket. So, perhaps some sort of karmafate that this CD from Fishstick found its way into my hands today. Scott Ratinoff from Philadelphia heads up this one man band that upholds the spirit of home produced recordings that actually don't suck. And if he's gotten pretty good at it, well maybe one of the reasons is that he's been doing this for nearly a decade. He has also been released previously on the legendary underground Shrimper label. And like the "-doh" bands from that label, he powers through lo-fi obstacles that commercial radio deems fatal but that true indie philosophy embraces with open arms.

I like these open-faced honest songs quite a bit. One of my favorite tracks is "Somewhere In The Middle" with its prominent drums and bassline. It sort of comes across as Folk Implosion fronted by a mellower Elvis Costello. "Pretty Good" adds some weird spacey noises to and otherwise standard folk rock song. "Why Don't You Stay" is sort of sad-sack acoustic number, like the unhappy Eels "Guest List" song complete with the necessary drum machine clicks and clacks. "Shut Your Mouth" is faster and quite catchy. "Belly Of The Beast" is drunken little country number that charms you with its shakers and teeny cymbal hits. "Stuck In The Mud" is similar; these songs would make Bonnie Prince Billy proud...

The 3 bonus harmonica songs at the end of the album are pretty good. Wait, that first one IS named "Pretty Good". The other two are pretty good as well, and his album Professional Fishstick as a whole is pretty good for this style of music. This needs no tartar sauce; have your Fishstick music au naturale...

- review by SHORTY (5.26.05)        

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