The Price of Fish: The Price of Fish (ohorecordings.com)

 |   |  1 min read

Keeper of Your Heart
The Price of Fish: The Price of Fish (ohorecordings.com)

The hub of this group are Rob Sinclair and David Bowater who appeared at Elsewhere previously when Bowater's label www.ohorecordings.com reissued the 3 Voices album from the early Eighties, like this an album featuring the two of them and a roll call of accomplished, sympathetic guests.

If 3 Voices – one of many avant-garde and innovative albums of the era, most of which have not been reissued – was a bit too far out for listeners, this 10 song outing, which doesn't resile from angularity at times, will be more approachable.

Time has passed and life changes people so Bowater notes that this “shouldn't be considered a follow-up work”.

And indeed it is not, it is a fish of a very different colour (although the cover art of 3 Voices is included on this cover so . . . A nod/bob each way, perhaps?)

Saxophonist/synth player and producer/engineer/mixer Bowater also acknowledges in the brief liner notes that Sinclair did all but a little of the writing, most of the vocals, guitars, bass and more.

Even so, the guest list includes guitarist Bevan Revell, saxophonist Chris Watts, drummer Steve Garden, Helen Bowater on backing vocals (and a sample of a solo violin work) and others.

The immediately interesting song is Bentwaiterman which comes with surreal, almost spoken lyrics and an equally odd, spacious sonic bed of synth glitches and beats.

But there is also a lovely cracked, acoustic ballad Gift of Love which follows, then the dark resonances of Stony Shore located somewhere close to a weary Nick Cave but offset by almost romantic acoustic guitar and flute.

A similar musical dichotomy is at the heart of Surabaya Nights, another broken ballad which has a bed of disconcerting synths weaving in and out. The exotic Night Tango comes with violins but the sense of unease remains.

The final piece is Shebear Spidersnake, an eight and half minute speak-sing poem with complex accompaniment from guitars, saxophones and drums which places it closer to avant-garde art music. 

These are unusual songs on musical and lyrical levels, yet that sensibility of subverting forms and norms means this doesn't give itself up on casual listening.

This is a deep dive into places of a restless psyche, if you are up for that.

Share It

Your Comments

David Bowater - Feb 5, 2018

Thanks for the thoughtful review Graham.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow (Sony)

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow (Sony)

Even the most cursory listen to this alt.folk duo (who err to the traditional side also) and you can hear why they picked up two Grammies (best folk and best country duo/group performance). They... > Read more

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble: Welcome to My World (30 Hertz/Southbound)

Jah Wobble has been one of the most interesting and innovative musical explorers of the past few decades but, as I discovered in '96 at the time of this interview – he does it mostly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK by BEN FOUNTAIN

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK by BEN FOUNTAIN

Any thinking American who read Generation Kill, Evan Wright's remarkable account of being an embedded journalist with an advance group of Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, would... > Read more

SONNY ROLLINS; BEYOND THE NOTES a doco by DICK FONTAINE

SONNY ROLLINS; BEYOND THE NOTES a doco by DICK FONTAINE

When the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins came to New Zealand in 2011, it was my pleasure to do a phone interview with him beforehand . . . and then see him in concert. I'd only seen... > Read more