Siamese Fighting Fish

Siamese Fighting Fish EP

Written by: TL on 21/12/2009 17:51:56

It's no secret that friendly sentiments have long existed between and the local band Siamese Fighting Fish, and as main liason with this often seen band, it has been of constitent nuisance to me, that I have never been able to get quite as much into SIFIFI's music as I wanted to. It's hard to hype your friends when you don't understand perfectly what's good about their music after all. This could of course be due to the fact that the band has traded members in and out and changed ideas about their soundscape for a good while, during which it has also been hard to spend time getting acquainted with their songs away from the live environment, due to their only released material being the done-in-a-rush "For You EP".

Well, none of that matters anymore, because I recently received their new self-titled EP, the first thing about which you will notice is a really awesome feature. It is a compact disc AND a vinyl. As in, it works in your cd player, or, if you're a pretentious dinosaur (Oh hi Ellis! :D) it also works in your vinyl player! That's underground credit points earned right there. Still though, after getting over that initial impression of coolness and taking the four tracks on here for a spin, the familiar reservations started coming back. Still they sound a bit like they're trying different things out - like they're lacking focus a little bit.

I don't know what it says about the band or their release, but it took me watching them live again for the SIFIFI experience to finally open up to me. Of course, I've seen them over 9000 times before, but the thing is, that after finishing this EP, the band picked up a new guitarist and a violinist, and seeing this new constellation perform made all the pieces fall into place, and even coming back to this EP, that obviously doesn't feature those new guys, the potential in the songs is now suddenly all too clear to me.

Soundwise, SIFIFI are now, even more than ever, the band that makes good on the old band-cliché: "Our sound is that we just try to put all our influences together and make something people haven't heard before". All too often, bands say that and still sound like something you've heard to death. Not SIFIFI. Having seemingly gotten into heavier, busier and more extremely dynamic stuff, they open proceedings here with "K.I.T.T And The Heroic Villains", a song that really has the band playing with their muscles as singer Mirza shows us around his impressive set of skills, screaming madly and crooning like one Rody Walker (of Protest The Hero), setting up at least two memorable refrains within the same song. Albeit SIFIFI are of course not quite as technical, the PTH reference is also audible in the EP's closer "D.(e):A.D" (seriously guys, what's up with that track name?), and along with the constant Balkanese feel (due to Mirza's slightly audible foreign heritage - something which is now amplified by the violin added post-recording. Think System Of A Down!) it is also worth noticing that someone in the band must've been listening to breakdown-music, because there are some heavy fuckin' beatings laid in with regular intervals here, and awesomely, SIFIFI are one of those fortunate few bands who've managed to do this without disrupting the flow of the music. More kudos guys, more kudos.

The band has earlier vocally admitted that they'd love to fuse some funk into their music, and this is most noticed in the two songs that are sandwiched in between the ones already mentioned. The first one, "The Day Me And My Friend Quit Diet Coke" effectively sounds a lot like Dance Gavin Dance, and well, it's danceable too, so yes, the result is pretty sweet. It is the following "Chronicle Of Lovers" that most easily steals your attention however. Returning to the Incubus-vibe that characterized the band's earlier stages, it opens with a distinct guitar-riff, and surprises the listener with a build before it's chorus where Mirza raps/yells in.. Is that Bosnian? Serbian? I forget where he's from, but suffice to say, most people won't understand a word, and still it's something you'll remember easily. Weird but true.

That's four tracks full of fascinating elements and impressive references, and still, I am going to be a cheeky bastard and ban SIFIFI from the highest grades. Why? Could be that initial impression of a lacking focus, or, more likely, the price of that perspective-changing show I saw. Because as much as I've come to like this EP, I still have vivid mental images of the sudden surge of power in the band's appearance and I can't bleedin' wait to hear what that is going to mean to their recorded material. So far, everything that's new, like the more accentuated breaks, the hints of Dance Gavin Dance, and Mirza's constantly improving vocal capabilities, are all things that excite the shit out of me, and if they can really bring that together in some even better songs, then I'm starting to think they can race ahead to become my favourite Danish band of all. So bring on that full length album guys, I'm honestly all aboard now.

Download: The Chronicles Of Lovers, K.I.T.T And The Heroic Villains
For The Fans Of: Protest The Hero, Dance Gavin Dance, System Of A Down

Release Date 01.11.2009
Imbue Records

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