The In the Fishtank series have never been really satisfying. the idea is great: locking two bands in a studio for three or four days and see what's produced in the end. So far bands mainly improvised, and did not enter the studio with ideas to develop. Even though I love the Black Heart Procession I didn't have high hopes in this release. I had no idea who Solbakken were and after listening to BHP's latest ep, "Hearts and Tanks," which features a lot of experimentation, i thought this record would end up disappointing.
I was wrong. The two bands have toured together for quite a while and it seems like they met a couple of times prior to the Fishtank rendez-vous in order to talk about what they were going to do. The six songs that resulted from the sessions are high-quality material, and do not sound like a collections of songs written in haste. Each song has a special feeling and makes the record a very pleasant listening. Even though i don't really know anything about Solbakken, this release sounds a lot like a new Black Heart Procession record with guests.
"Voiture en Rouge" features an appearance by a girl named Rachael, coming from Switzerland. She speaks in French through the song and does not sing, leaving that to Pall Jenkis. The track sounds like a Black Heart Procession song, somewhere between Three and Amore del Tropico, and Rachael adds a refreshing and exotic feeling. I'm not going to talk about the text read, it's very inconsistent, but if you don't pay attention to the words, the first song on this album is really impressive.
"Dog Song" starts like a BHP song, with dark piano lines and a saw. You only feel something different when one of the two Solbakken singers starts singing. There is a dog/ that waits for me/ at my front door/ it lays asleep/ and everytime/ I'd like to leave/ it starts to bark/ or it follows me. Jenkis joins to sing along on the second half of the song.
"Nervous Persian" sounds exotic. There is a violin that sounds like a sitar, i think, and it feels like Amore del Tropico set in New Dehli. Jenkis sings, half-possessed and half-desperate, as the violin goes berserk.
"A Taste of You and Me" is a catchy pop song, the only one in this record that doesn't really sound like a Black Heart Procession track. The piano plays a happy melody in repeat as the bass guitar supports the song. One of the Solbakken guys sings, and he's got a good voice. If that's what Solbakken sounds like, i'm definitely intrigued.
"Things Go on with Mistakes" is 11 minutes long. It starts with an oppressive thumping bass line, diluaded by a supportive piano. Jenkis creeps out of his coffin and sings. The song starts burning when the guitar enters and Jenkis suddenly becomes a shaman sorcerer, singing as if in a trance, millions of ghosts floating around him.
"Your Cave" is a great closer. A guitar intertwined with Jenkis' piano, one of the Solbakken guys sings. It's a cute funeral song. God knows how long we could run around in your cave.
This is easily the best of the 11 records of the In the Fishtank series and much more than a footnote in both bands' discography.
/mar 15th 2004/