Diane Coffee

My Friend Fish

by Matthew Fiander

11 December 2013

 
cover art

Diane Coffee

My Friend Fish

(Western Vinyl)
US: 29 Oct 2013
UK: 28 Oct 2013

Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming’s first solo record, as Diane Coffee, likes to genre hop in a way that may recall his band’s work. But My Friend Fish digs into spacier, more soulful territory. Fleming proves to be a deft hand at bringing soul and R&B traditions to life alongside pop and rock structures. Opener “Hymn” shifts from syrupy space into a danceable freak-out in the middle that is striking, and sets up the bone-dry thump of “Never Lonely” well. The whole album focuses on the rhythm section, with only spare guitar or keys above it on most tracks, until this lean approach erupts in the space-rock expanse of “Tale of a Dead Dog” or the jangle pop of “That Stupid Girl Who Likes to Run A Lot”. In these moments, it’s Fleming’s irrepressible personality and unhinged singing that carry the day, crafting long-established genres into something distinctly his. Other moments still feel well composed, but are almost too subtle for their own good, as songs like “When It’s Known” or “All The Young Girls” threaten to fade into the background. My Friend Fish has moments that are more about sound than about song, something which take the focus away from Fleming’s commanding presence. But there’s still a lot to like here, especially when the songs become more than just genre exercises and form their own fresh sense of purpose.

My Friend Fish

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.

 


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article