Album Review: Arts Fishing Club – Human I

We first ran across Arts Fishing Club a few years ago with a Bandcamp track that really stood out for its folk bonafides. Now with his new songwriting, the act of Arts Fishing Club has taken on a new rock-based Americana style. We’re excited to discuss the album here and recommend it for fans of good time Americana rock n’ roll.

The album begins with the raucous “Icarus,” a reference to Greek mythology if I’m not mistaken. The up tempo style is highlighted by some expressive vocals and bangin’ harmonica work. The overall optimism of the track seems ripe for getting the crowd moving at live shows and festivals. The “I feel like flying” lyric is really perfect for the image of Icarus. Off to a great start!

“Devil on my shoulder” is my kind of track. The lyrics are philosophical and introspective. The music itself is driven by a quality lead vocal and reflective electric guitar. It feels like a sort of mid 90s pop rock energy and I’m totally okay with that. The lyrics will get you thinking theologically or epistemologically. Or… if you’re not like me… maybe you just tap your toes and enjoy it. Works for that, too.

The single and potential hit from this album is “Tupelo Honey.” This is the track where the lead singer’s vocal really shines. The lyrics are sweet and romantic in the way that you want your lover to hear, not like some of the more crass stuff out there. It’s about because cozy and in love. It’s about someone who left him but he wants her back. It’s a fun, engaging, good time sort of up tempo bluesy tune. It’s tailor made for mass appeal.

The following “I see you” has a different feel to it, rooted in an expressive piano and an intimate vocal style. The male-female duo (with vocals from Bre Kennedy) emerges as a gentle, sweet style. When the full band enters the track it stays peaceful and engaging. It reminds me of a contemplative slow song that helps you process why you are together. The heart of the artist really shines on this one.

The final track “Cannibals (Song for Aleppo)” has a totally different style that is, in a word, unsettling. That is not to say that it isn’t enjoyable; it’s a great listen. But the song is about unrest and brokenness in our world, so of course it’s going to take on a unique shape. The minor chords from the opening indicate immediately to the listener that it’s about pain. The expressive vocal is a shout of empathy into the world. I wish more artists created music like this. The layers of guitars create an atmosphere that works perfect for the powerful, emphatic rock vocal.

This is an intriguing album from a talented singer songwriter. It’s a bit of rock, a bit of folk, and a lot of soulful songwriting. It’s hard to find writing like this at all, let alone tucked away on an EP like this. I’m more than happy to support Arts Fishing Club and hope others will as well.

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