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Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club


Review: Jack Foley

FROM the extravagant name of the band alone, you can tell that Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club's debut album is going to be a strange affair.

And so it is, that this Irish outfit arrive off a tidlewave of hype from their homeland, hoping to make a similarly strong impression here.

Boasting a fresh, eclectic sound, and music which harks back to 50's rock and blues, as well as more modern rock/folk music, this outfit can also lay claim to some high-profile friends, including Damien Rice, Anuna and Josie Doherty, who guest star at various points.

Hence, tracks such as title track, My Friend Jim, contain a bluesy feel, while also coming infused with a mariachi vibe, while the distinctly classic sounding True Friends, which was used to spearhead the Vodaphone television campaign in Ireland, evokes memories of chilled out Nick Cave, or, at its best, Louis Armstrong, in husky, What A Wonderful World mode.

But the mix of styles is such that it's difficult to find something not to like, even if the album occasionally tries to take on too much.

Daddy Was A Devil is a deliciously laidback record, for example, with some terrific guitar, slide drums, and Fish's lyrics at their most drooling, with backing vocals that evoke memories of The Commitments.

But Mr Clean is a little too meandering for its own good; not so much cool, as ordinary. A couple of tracks fall in the same category.

But, on the whole, the album does a good job of mixing happiness with sadness, and playing with its genres, so that the blues collide with jazz, at some points, while also retaining a distinctly indie feel, as evidenced in tracks such as Let It Roll.

It's an acquired taste, for sure, but you can understand why it has done so well in Ireland, winning the Best Country/Roots Artist at the Meteor Irish Music Awards, last year, and earning widespread acclaim for Fish and his self-confessed travelling circus.

You'll probably finding yourself liking it in spite of early misgivings, but just try recommending it to your friends.

 

Track listing:
1. My Friend Jim
2. Upside Down
3. Life Story
4. It Don't Get Much Better Than This
5. Bob & God
6. True Friends
7. Mr Clean
8. Anyway The Wind Blows
9. Daddy Was A Devil
10. Let It Roll
11. Be Yourself

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