Hagfish (Honest Don's Lame Ass Recordings)
By: Alex Steininger
Hagfish, those sex crazed pop-punkers are back with their third full-length. After spending some time on a major, they eventually won the right to leave the label and landed on Southern California's indie label Honest Don's. On their latest release they once again shine through with their poppy hooks, energetic punk rock, and stylish sense of humor.
"Anniversary Song" gets the listener's motor running straight from the get go. Hard hitting drums with plenty of cymbals combined with thick bass and a powerful guitar that goes from hook to screech with ease, this number will grab you and never let go. The vocals are clear as they spit out bitter stories of love, as well as carrying out the delicious hooks they spit out that will just make you drool. "Band" could be considered one of their anthem songs, second to only one of their perverted numbers. It also happens to be my favorite track on this CD. It starts off with just vocals and guitar, while they lead you up to the point where the drums come crashing down and the bass joins in. From there it bounces through the verse, relying heavily on a very powerful bass. As you jump around with the number they quickly turn up the heat and fly into a punk chorus, still keeping the pop present. Irresistible, you of course start singing along with the number. It's just too bouncy not too. But bounce isn't the only thing going for this song, it always keeps a nice punk drive to it so you have a lot of energy to feed off of. "Doo Doo Noggin" starts out with a nice punk intro, before cutting to just vocals, bass, and drums. I love it when bands do this. Not only does it emphasize on everything they are saying, but catches you off guard for when they fly back into the punk melodies. As the guitar comes sliding back into the music everything jumps into a frenzy. Powerful and melodic, you'll once again be forced to go with the music and jump around. "Closer" is a very bass oriented number. Always in charge, the only thing more powerful than the bass are the vocals. Covering one of their favorite bands, they re-do They Might Be Giants' "Twisting" as only they could. Starting it off with some quirky guitar, they quickly bust into some more of their delicious pop-punk. Hard hitting drums, a powerful bass, and a guitar that goes from full on punk to pop hooks make this another number that will bounce and jump inside your mind, while you react in the same way. "Fruit" is a humorous look at a guy contemplating what the world would be like if he were gay. "If I were gay I'd see the world in a different way. If I were gay you'd look at me in another way," gives you an idea of what is running through their minds. Are they serious or are they just having fun? Probably both, this is Hagfish we're talking about. At any rate, they get you rolling on the floor laughing while serving up great hooks and some kick ass punk beats. What more could you ask for? Free sex, yes, but I'm sure Hagfish would take you up on that so you better just keep quiet! "Agent 37" closes out the CD with its record four minute and twenty seven second length. This is nearly double the average Hagfish song length. So the question is, do they pull it off or do they get caught up in their own two minute pop-punk mind and serve up a dull four minute track? Not at all, this song is just as good as the rest of the numbers. More pop than punk, this number is slow compared to their other songs. Still carrying a punk kick to it, they never lose your interest.
Hagfish is back, and with a point to prove! It may be they haven't released an album since ...ROCKS YOUR LAME ASS quite a while ago, but they haven't lost a step. If anything, time has only improved their crazy humor, sex filled minds, and talent for creating good hooks inside a punk atmosphere. If you've read this far and still haven't decided you want to buy this album, hit yourself on the head seven times, re-read this review, and then go get this album. One of the top releases in 1998, this album will earn its keep and receive some major wear and tear from its over usage. I'll give this album an A+.
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