Passion Pusher – Life in the Aquarium [Song, By Toad]

Kicking of with the off-beat and rinky-tink ‘Life in the Aquarium’, it is evident that an unusual album is at hand – at only four minutes long, the track is over a minute longer than every other on the album.

‘Conventional Artist’ introduces guitar elements over the cheap synth and keyboard featuring on the previous track.

 

The same can be said of ‘Pizza Club’, it brings the rinky-tink off-beat nature of the first track and the more “conventional” instrumental elements from ‘Conventional Artist’ and combines them to create an irritatingly inviting little song about “Pizza Club” – asking the listener “Why don’t you take a bite?”; it’s daft and I don’t want to like it, but I do.

‘My Guy’ ditches the synthetic elements and focuses more on fuzzy guitar; loud, repetitive bass and snare heavy drums, with funny lyrics and a great vocal hook.

The vocals on the album sound as if they are being delivered after a painful and likely expensive trip to the dentists; maybe one of those American dentists that seem to give their patients LSD.

‘Good Thoughts’ continues the themes thus laid out, it seems at this stage on the album as if the awkward and deliberately humorous introduction is passed and the record delivers its first serious example of what it is all about.

This is also true of ‘Really Wonderful’, although the music on this track has more depth whilst remaining off-beat

There is a lot of wash on the vocals and the guitar, perhaps more on the vocals than I might have liked in some places.

This is all before the musical interlude, which re-establishes some of the synthetic elements alongside some less conventional drum work – similar to the earlier aspects of the record.

With the whole thing being recorded in three days, it must either be the case that all parties were extremely professional or that there was a certain lack of attention to detail and polish going into the album.

It seems to me the latter; the lackadaisical and free-form nature of the album is what gives it all of its charm.

It does not seem to be an album screaming out for attention, acceptance or to please.

This one’s a grower, the music does all sorts of things but it tends to do so very quietly, ‘Sauchiehall Street’ embraces some more surf rock guitar with gentle, but in places complex lines, but it doesn’t make a big deal of it.

This seems like another example of hiding the light of the work under a bushel – it is perhaps deliberately understated, but it might have benefited from showing us more of what the musicians have to offer, vocally and musically.

It is simple, charming, repetitious and enjoyable over all, but some more development throughout and more confidence to drive some of the elements on board would really have benefited the album.

Words: Paul Aitken

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