A Season of Songs, day 19: Cross Road

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Today’s song is “Cross Road” by Lungfish from their 2000 album “Necrophone”.

Lungfish formed in 1988 and their last real album came out in 2005.  They’ve never technically broken up, but I wouldn’t expect new material or performances anytime soon.  During their run of 11 albums they worked on perfecting a repetitive, sometimes droning sound with Daniel Higg’s signature vocals and poesy laid over top.  Some people will tell you that if you’ve heard one Lungfish song, you’ve heard them all.  They are an acquired taste for many.  But I think there is a real value in listening to Lungfish.  The songs are in many ways meant to be meditative – focus on the riff, feel it, listen to Higg’s words.

Taken as a whole, Higg’s words are often difficult to decipher.  He tends to be equal parts poet and shaman, on one hand sharing truths and speaking of life in the ways of the poet, but at other times speaking in a language that truly only he (and the force that provides, the Lungfish) can understand.

“Cross Road” is what seemed like a generally uncommon item for Lungfish, an instrumental, but as I look over their catalog, I’m noticing more and more of them.  “Necrophones” contains three instrumentals strewn throughout the tracks.  “Cross Road” is a 2 minute interlude in the middle of what would have been the B side of the record.  Minimalist even by Lungfish standards, it is a light breeze appearing after the upbeat “Sex Wars” and before the final instrumental of the album, “Eternal Nightfall”.

Trying to decide what Lungfish album is your favorite can be a difficult task.  Each has their merits.  “Necrophones” ranks high-middle among them for me.  Great cover artwork, love the photo of the band members frolicking on the insert.  “The Words” and “Sex Wars” are probably my favorite tracks on the album.

Until the repetitions cease,
the repetitions must increase.
“Sex Wars”

Only caught these guys live once at the Brew Haus in the Southside.  Was a great show.  Have since seen Daniel Higgs do his solo thing live a few times which is a rare and beautiful thing in its own right.  I haven’t been a big fan of his solo recordings, but his live performances are worth the price of admission.

If you are looking to check out Lungfish, I will currently say start with one of these three albums:

1) Talking Songs For Walking – The first album (and if you get the CD version it comes with their first 12″ ep too), this has a very different feel from their other records though it certainly features the early seeds of what would become that signature Lungfish sound.

2) Artificial Horizon – 1998 album.  Highlight songs include “Oppress Yourself”, “Love Will Ruin Your Mind”, and “Shed the World”.

3) Love is Love – 2003 album.  This is the one that converted Emma.  Highlight tracks are “Love is Love”, “Fearfully and Wonderfully”, and “Hear the Children Sing”.

Or just grab whatever you can find.  All of them are good, even their last real album “Feral Hymns”, which I think is their weakest release, is pretty damn good.

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