Odgers & Simmonds,
Baby Fishlips
(Twah!, 2000)

Odgers & Simmonds is a new venture from Philip "Swill" Odgers and Paul Simmonds, better known as the songwriting team from The Men They Couldn't Hang. Never heard of them? Don't worry, neither had I. Their first offering is Baby Fishlips, a CD that was recorded in a neighbor's living room.

The CD starts out with "Khamaseem" or "Sword of the Crescent Moon," a cheery little song about an arms dealer being cut to pieces by a sandstorm. It definitely sounds like a strange way to begin a CD, but with its Arabian-style ornamentation, the song is actually very cool. And from the description of Sultan's character, it serves him right.

Among the other highlights on the CD are "The Trigger," a melodic description of despair and suicide and/or murder. Guest vocalist Mick Thomas appears on this track. The gentle tune "The Light" is almost a lullaby. It is easy to picture parents crooning this pleasant song as they rock their children to sleep. "We Came Through" is a catchy song about getting through hard times and the friend who will always stand with you. Also interesting is "Man Overboard" with its dark-toned verses. The repetitive chorus is marked by a high violin accompaniment that gives the song a relentless air.

Of all the songs on the CD, the only one that I did not care for was "Barrett's Privateers," a long a capella ballad by Stan Rogers about the sinking of a privateer vessel called the Antelope during (or shortly after) the Revolutionary War. The tune itself is grating, as well as the constant repetition of "God damn them all" in the chorus.

This is a great CD. The songs are all lively and upbeat, even the ones that are about depressing subjects (with the possible exception of "Barrett's Privateers"). This does not raise them to the level of comedy, however. The accompaniments are simple and not overdone and production values high. This CD may have been recorded in a living room, but you'd never know it to hear it.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]

Buy Baby Fishlips from Amazon.com.