ILP 007 Skafish
Produced by Skafish
Released on May 7, 1980
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
ILP 007 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 1.0: BULLY FOR THEM. The 80s produced a lot of weird new wave acts, few of them stranger than Skafish. Their performance in 1981’s genre-defining Urgh! A Music War (“Sign of the Cross”) made it plain that nothing was off bounds. Yet it still doesn’t prepare you for the opening “Joan Fan Club,” in which singer Jim Skafish revels in role reversal with a little too much relish. (As Randy Newman knows too well, some people missed the point and thought he was serious.) By picking such a powderkeg for the opening track, Skafish the Album keeps the listener (or at least kept this one) at arm’s length, which is kind of a shame since you want to embrace the band for writing such wonderfully loopy songs as “Disgracing The Family Name,” “Guardian Angel” and “We’ll See A Psychiatrist.” A lot of new wave bands around this time made albums that had one or two standout tracks: The Flying Lizards, The Suburban Lawns, etc. Rarer were bands who were able to deliver a string of good ideas in highly musical arrangements (this time the list would look like Oingo Boingo, XTC & Adam & The Ants). Skafish belongs in the latter camp, although their dark streak may appeal only to Devo fans (another product of America’s dissatisfied Midwest). Unlike Devo, who adopted a revolutionary musical stance, Skafish instead subverts traditional rock & roll idioms (e.g., doo wop, liberal use of the male/female vocal back-and-forth), which gives the impression of a warped jukebox (a point I also made in this completely lackluster review for AMG). If the idea of a cross between Richard O’Brien and Oingo Boingo (Richard O’Boingo?) intrigues you, then you need to start digging for this lost gem of an album. More than 30 years on, it’s still one of my favorite records to come out of new wave’s first wave.

TRACK LISTING

  1. INTRODUCTION/JOAN FAN CLUB    0:32/3:20
  2. MAYBE ONE TIME    2:49
  3. OBSESSIONS OF YOU    2:52
  4. WE'LL SEE A PSYCHIATRIST    3:22
  5. ROMANTIC LESSONS    3:31
  6. WORK SONG    3:38
  7. GUARDIAN ANGEL    4:09
  8. DISGRACING THE FAMILY NAME    3:29
  9. NO LIBERATION HERE    4:40
  10. TAKE IT OUT ON YOU    3:11

    All songs written & arranged by Skafish

CREDITS

JIM SKAFISH -- piano, telephone call, vocal
KEN BRONOWSKI -- guitar, bugle, vocal
JAVIER CRUZ -- synthesizer, mellotron, clavinet, organ, vocal, mixing assistance
BARBIE GOODRICH -- adapted slide guitar, guitar, slide whistle, vocal
LARRY MAZALAN -- bass guitar, vibraslapp, vocal
LARRY MYSLIQIEC -- drums set, synthetic drum, maracas, tambourine
Gayle Crowder -- vocal
Paul Serrano -- engineer
Scott Rowley -- engineer
Cheryl Weiss -- astrological guidance and calculation
Glinda Harrison -- psychic assistance and predictions
Merlin -- magickal incantations and psychic assistance
Paul Natkin/Photo Rersrve -- front photograph
Bill Sosin/Photo Rersrve -- inner photographs

return to SKAFISH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US May 7, 1980 Illegal LP XSP-008 lyric sleeve
NET 1980 Illegal LP ILP-007 lyric sleeve

 

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