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Title: Life Ain’t Pink
Artist: Smoke Fish
Genre: Pop / Indie
Release Date: 8th January 2010
Label: AFMusic

Album Review

This influx of pseudo-New Wave bands over the past few years has done a lot to dampen the spirits of many. If it isn’t the Arctic Monkeys repackaging Joy Division and The Smiths into a happy-go-lucky pop outfit, it’s some God-awful bland American indie band who have scored a hit with the theme to a movie or TV show that will be forever thrust down your throat. Pop was once an innocent word, something that genuine artists like The Cure or Morrissey could aspire to without selling out. Now it’s a by-word for bland commercialism. So when I see the words Pop / Other / Rock adorning the MySpace page of SMOKE FISH, I can’t help but become instantly suspicious.

The album opens with ‘Wake Up’, a New Wave sweeping guitar sound that pricks my ears with interest but feels ultimately indistinguishable from the efforts of 90% of indie bands on the live circuit today. ‘Mary Prankster’ veers disturbingly into American College Radio territory sounding like a B Side by the Bare Naked Ladies or some other writers of “One Hit Summer Anthems”. However, ‘Cigarettes & Family’ is a well developed song in its own right with a traditional New Wave feel and the first one on the album to have some genuine passion in it. ‘Tango With Jesus’ gets into the Latin vibe with it’s Mariachi trombone, but it lacks any major hooks and fades into background music very quickly. ‘Hey!Talk!’ like ‘Cigarettes & Family’ has a little more Rock’n’Roll backbone to it with some great guitars and interesting keyboard work that makes for a nice proggy track.

‘My Eyes’ is a slow weird sounding track that maintains a charming catchiness to it that shows that these guys can write interesting songs when the mood takes them. ‘Insane Inside’ has a French take on the Gogol Bordello Gypsy Punk sound, which would have been interesting a few years ago, but with the afore mentioned Gogol Bordello making a nice bit of cash out of that niche it isn’t actually that adventurous. ‘Strange Identity Defect’ is a sombre little ballad that breaks out the acoustic guitar and echoing synth combination that is always a good one to have in a live set and makes an interesting change of pace here, but ultimately it feels like it has been done before and better. ‘Manifest Destiny’ opens with some crowd samples and plays a standard lo-fi sounding indie track for something a little heavier - a standard move from the “Big Book of Indie Albums” really. The final track ‘Juevenile’ has a nice early Pink Floyd by way of Bowie feel to it, which again shows that the band can write great songs but seem to choose not to.

The truth is, SMOKE FISH have the talent behind them to write interesting tracks that flirt with Jazz, World Music, and Synth-Pop. But what they continue to produce is well written but ultimately commercialised Pop music with very little Rock’n’Roll bite to it. All the tricks of thirty years of indie music are on display with very few original takes on the formulae.


01. Wake Up
02. Mary Prankster
03. Cigarettes & Family
04. Tango with Jesus
05. Hey!Talk!
06. My Eyes
07. Insane Inside
08. Strange identity defect
09. Manifest Destiny
10. Juvenile



Websites /

Cover Picture


Music: 4
Sound: 5
Extras: -
Total: 4.5 / 10


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