Indie is everywhere and the airwaves seem clogged with bands claiming to be punky whilst sounding like a rehash of yesterday’s hot pick. Nevertheless, every now and again a band come along and blow your brains away. Today, this band is Little Fish. With a sound that can only be described as beatnik punk and raking up an abundance of accolades (support slots with Them Crooked Vultures, Hole and Placebo, and ‘Rock Act of The Year’ at the 2008 Indie Award’s to name just a few) this Oxford based three piece threw out the rule book and created a sound that goes beyond the realms of comparison.
Drummer Nez creates the driving force behind the sound, the absence of bass making his precision and power even more crucial, whilst Ben on hammond adds the much needed depth to melodies. Together they fuse and merge into the beat of front woman Juju’s guitar, culminating into a sound which is intricate enough to excite, whilst simplistic enough for their individual sounds to be startling. The power of this arrangement is perhaps best witnessed in Darling Dear, a song built in layers which concludes with a climatic finish. It’s Nez’s rhythms which carry the weight of the song, the rising drum beat building being the supremacy of the tune.
Let Me Die Young on the other hand showcases Juju’s voice, reminding us of Paula Cole, whilst her addition of a backhanded guitar slide unites her startling sound with visual captivation. The weight of Juju and Nez is so powerful on its own that the most recent addition of the hammond seems almost puzzling at times. The two-piece set up which proved so successful for the Ting Tings seems as though it should translate perfectly to the Little Fish vibe. However, Luck’s Run Out reminds us why the third member is a worthy addition, allowing the band to produce slower numbers, branching them away from their White Stripes comparison and allowing them to bridge the divide between acoustic and rock.
It’s not only the sound that makes Little Fish so extraordinary, but also their power to command a stage and hypnotize an audience. From the word go, Juju demands the crowd’s attention, kicking her way around the stage in her battered boots, ensuring no one dare look away. As she howls and scowls her way through the songs she reduces our criticism only to a desire to hear more. Juju might question ‘Am I crazy? Am I Crazy?’ but we simply conclude that you’d be out of your tiny mind to miss Little Fish play live.