Review Summary: Looking to insert some fun into your stereo? Look no further, and press play on these lovely ditties.
Firstly: rest in peace, Blakfish; I decided on reviewing this record moments after learning of the untimely passing of one of heavy music’s most promising bands. This album will forever be reflective of the mark Blakfish has made on the music world, so let’s see what we have here.
Lieutenant R. Lee
General S. Manville
Major T. Peckett
Colonel R. Wisely
… As described in the album’s liner notes.
What we have here is 11 tracks of ‘death pop’, as described by the band itself. One venture onto the group’s MySpace will make clear the eclectically playful nature of Blakfish, and their debut album, ‘Champions’; top friends such as Britney Spears and Keith Urban keep you wondering just how serious these musicians are. Apprehensive listeners needn’t worry, however: their music is serious, and seriously good.
Death pop is probably as adequate a description of this music as any; while certainly not an album of peaceful easy listening, ‘Champions’ is hardly typical metal, either, and this is an especially significant point with regards to the guitars. Blakfish almost appear to be using typical pop riffs in an atypical manner, fused with some eccentric little lead passages; in doing so, the band formulates a highly listenable sound, while still adding their own perspective of music to the populated battlefield of the contemporary music industry.
The vocals on ‘Champions’ appear in two forms, with most songs featuring both variants: a raspy scream, and some surprisingly melodic vocals. Each of these approaches are undertaken by two of the band’s members, with some effective intertwining happening; the clean singing is particularly impressive, as the dual front-men support the oft-occurring melodious sections of guitar. These segments are undoubtedly the highlight of this record, rendering each track memorable with some very sonically pleasing passages.
In providing a counterpoint for these lighter sections, Blakfish are just as proficient in pounding the listener with some potently dense heavier sections. It is here where the rhythm contingent of the band come into their own; while the guitars remain refreshingly vibrant and good-humoured, even ‘catchy’, the drumming, especially, reminds the listener that they are in the presence of a more than capable heavy band.
To find a problem with this album, one must look to the possibility of a limited amount of replays, before finding the songs tiresome. It is possible to find yourself being lost within one track, thinking you are elsewhere on the album, due in part to the innovative sound of Blakfish, which they tend to repeat. A lot.
In saying that, finding their own sound on a debut album is more than can be said for even some of the world’s premier bands. And for the most part, this record is just so fun! ‘Champions’ will keep a rhythm tapping in your foot, and a smile on your dial.
Lastly, I can’t help but chuckle at the inventive lyrics found here,
‘You look like an extra from the Wild Wild West, yeah you do’.
What a damn shame this is all we’ll get to see from such a promising young band. Blakfish didn’t last long, but they sure did shine bright.
The best songs are possibly,
Ringo Starr - 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles,
Randy Sage - True American Hero, and,
We Beg, We Borrow, We Steal.
‘Champions’ is some bloody good fun.