If you are in the mood for an EP that moves from surf tones to jangling rock and darker grunge, Goldfish Smarts has what you want. Their EP Between Moonlight & The Music Shed is packed with ageless tones, questions about life, love and an ode to the freedom of the open road. The EP is one you can easily chill to while it captures the spectrum of human emotions and something quintessential to the human experience.
This skimming of different genres and emotions comes from Phil Kelly (vocals), Michael Pilz (guitar, backing vocals), Mark Carlile (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Szymanski (bass), Mo MacRae (harmonica) and Stu Freeman (drums). They came together in 2018 with the desire to make original music through their dedication to slick tones. Pulling on their love for a range of artists, they give these influences a nod before plunging into their own unique sound.
The EP opens with ‘Butterfly Decal’ which strums into your ears while evoking the freedom of flying down the open road. The addictive slide of the harmonica is a joy to hear when the rock melody hits you. You can easily imagine blaring this song as you drive down the open road with the wind whipping through your hair and the saltiness of the ocean resting on your skin. Kelly’s vocals bring the soaring feeling of freedom to your heart letting you shrug off all the stresses of the world and just riding the waves of the music. It is the perfect opening for the EP and instantly hooks you to the sound of the band.
‘Didn’t Need to Turn Around’ uses a light crashing of sound to grab your attention before sliding into a more familiar rock love song flow. There is a slightly retro vibe to the track that makes you think of rock songs of days gone by. The band is able to infuse a ridiculous about of emotion into every note and word. Through the performance, you feel the all-encompassing love the lyrics detail tinged with a longing for the other person to feel the same.
The guitar that pulls you into ‘Cross Examined’ really sets the tone for the track. This is a much more reflective song than the ones that came before. Contemplating if we make major life choices because we want to or because we think we have to, it gives you a lot to think about. These deep thoughts are put to the most infectious melody ever. The drums roll you forward while the guitars cushion you before buffering you between the different lines. There are some guitar riffs that pull at the back of your mind and merge with the harmonica to sink into your brain and will not shift.
‘Blame It On The’ has this really great bounce to it that makes your toes tap. The lyrics have a slight tongue-in-cheek feeling to them as they consider how many people blame others for things that happen. This is a really motivating song that reminds us that we all need to take responsibility for our actions. As you move to the melody, the band has you accepting what you have done while looking to the future with a sense of hope. While the lyrics call for responsibility, they are really catchy and you are going to find yourself singing along. This is before you start swaying like a crazy person to the instrumentation.
The EP comes to a close with ‘In The Moment’ which embraces everyone who is a little different. The paced melody that captures your senses from the first moment is very different to the rest of the EP bringing a sonic connection to the messaging of the track. Through this song, the band fills you with positive vibes and gives you the boost you need to accept who you are even if it is different from what society wants. The thrust of the melody has you bouncing off the walls only to float as the music dips. There is a lot to relate to in the lyrics before the thumping good time of the melody makes a comeback.
Goldfish Smarts moves from the freedom of the open road to accepting yourself in the addictive tracks of Between Moonlight & The Music Shed. Each track of the EP has a message set to really addictive guitars and a harmonica that does not stop. You can easily listen to this EP again and again while bouncing off the walls and singing with the band.