Little Fish - 'Baffled And Beat' (Custard/Island Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 12 August 2010 06:00

littlefish176I've felt under a little bit of pressure as I have prepared to write this review. Why? Basically, even on the first listen of 'Baffled And Beat', I convinced myself that what I was hearing was destined for greatness.


Maybe not household name greatness, more halls of residence greatness. More Mercury Prize than Brit Awards. Either way I felt that my words used to describe the album had to be of comparable quality.....then I just decided to write my usual old bollocks and hope that enough of you would grasp it....


Little Fish are a two piece - male and female - destined to be compared to The White Stripes until people actually hear them. People like former 4 Non Blondes leader Linda Perry who, after hearing a demo, flew to see the band perform at a pub in their native Oxford where she signed them on the spot and jetted them off to LA where she would produce this, their debut album.


Perry's involvement is massive, for at least a couple of reasons. Alongside artists like Tori Amos she became one of the benchmarks for female artists in the 1990's before fashioning a hugely successful career as a songwriter and producer. Creating massive global hits for the likes of P!nk, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani, and also working with Courtney Love, Kelly Osbourne and middle-aged bore-pop rhyming slang James Blunt, her ability to find her way around a tune is never in doubt. Could Little Fish vocalist/guitarist Juju Sophie ever have hoped for a better, stronger female figure to help shape her career? You can't help but think no as the album kicks in.


There are times, second track 'Darling Dear' for instance, where Perry's sound and attitude is all over the song. Not suffocating it with her presence though, simply sharpening Sophie's delivery into the jagged edge angst that it happily and beautifully is. While Perry's influence is great, it is Juju Sophie who is the undeniable star of the show here. Drummer Nez Greenaway is destined to be pushed even further into the background which, considering the band are only a two-piece (although a Hammond organ has now been introduced to their live set), offers more than a little hint at how much the star quality shines from every pore of Sophie's frame.


People are already using that horrible 'post-punk' tag to describe Little Fish. Punk was an attitude, right? What comes after attitude? The punk to which these lazy pigeon holers allude is that of the legendary Patti Smith and, yes, there are several moments - 'Die Young' for example - where Smith is the first face that pops into your head as the simply effective noise surrounds you.


Linda Perry fashioning a Patti Smith for a new generation? This century is already ripe for suchapproved_image_lrg a musical event and Little Fish are easily serious contenders. This could be huge. Highly recommended.