I've been listening to Little Fish's debut album Baffled And Beat for a little while now, and I'm beginning to lose track of time. I mean, is it 2001 again or what? Little Fish are a two piece, male/female, guitar/drums garage rock duo, I think I've heard this one before. They even seem to have a red and white theme going on on this album.
Little Fish aren't the White Stripes though, and here's how you can tell: they aren't very good. They get nowhere near the musical invention, creativity or sheer scale of their American cousins, and despite their US influences they don't have the same down-home folksy Americana charm either.
There are a few high points to be fair, but most have been available before now either, on 2009's Darling Dear EP, or lead single Am I Crazy, rendering this album a little pointless. Darling Dear, which opens proceedings, is a kicking and screaming ball of energy in audio form, where 'Juju' Sophie Heslop really lets rip with her screeching vocals. Whiplash is another from the Darling Dear EP, a playful track with Juju on vocals again, this time in kittenish mode repeating "You give me whiplash / I've got whiplash".
The single Am I Crazy is worth a listen too, for its big catchy choruses, but the one song that stands out for a bit of quality, and serious songwriting is Heroin Dance.
Ultimately I think what I dislike about Little Fish is how populist they come across on Baffled And Beat. Hooks and over-repeated choruses are prioritised over writing actual songs, while lyrics are dumbed-down to the point of meaninglessness. Only Heroin Dance bucks this trend, but it is too little to carry the rest of the album which seems to aim for nothing more than mass market appeal.
All of which would be fine if people would see them for the limited garage rock group that they really are, but all the buzz and positive reviews around the band would have you believe they were way more than that.
Final Score: 53%