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Big Fish Ensemble
I Hate Parties
Long Play

A few months ago I noticed that many “alternative” bands were using the word “fish” in their name. Just for fun, I wrote up a list. More than twenty-five local, regional, and big-name groups appeared on it when I quit counting in disgust. A small sample of the list included Stalefish, Babblefish, Lungfish, Silverfish, Blackfish, Two Fish Blue, Dingo Fish Band, Country Joe and the Fish, Vicious Fishes, Fish and Roses, Phish, An Emotional Fish, etc., etc. What does this mean? Saturation, Saturation, saturation! It’s just like grunge fashion—how can it possibly be cool if everyone is doing it? I am immediately prejudiced against any groups with “fish” in its name. Most of the time the music sucks anyway.

Big Fish Ensemble, from Atlanta, fits right in. To me the music is terribly bland, but in their hometown everyone probably loves them. And major attention will be put on this band mainly because the Indigo Girls sing on the track “Animal.” Different instrumentation is utilized by the Ensemble. Familiar guitar, bass, and drums are all here, alongside the trumpet, violin, and trombone. With such diversity I was hoping for something out of the ordinary, but nothing spectacular ever surfaces. The song “I Hate Parties” is a typical theme—all these people are superficial yet I’m so cool. Lyrics like “I’m moving to Greenland” are pitiful stabs at cynical humor that will be mostly enjoyed by the laid-back college pseudohippie type.

If you’re looking for more run-of-the-mill, Big Fish Ensemble is for you. If you’re looking for something a little more interesting and adventurous, skip it.

Originally published in Ink Nineteen in September 1993.


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