I credit AGD Entertainment in Nashville for informing me about the presence of Arts Fishing Club. I knew I was in for something unique when I pressed play on this EP (I mean, look at that band name!) yet I was surprised by the intensity of the opener “Icarus.”
Let’s be real, though. Can you be surprised that a song is intense when its namesake is a mythological character that flew too close to the sun?
Intense is an apt word to describe this band on the whole, though. Heavy they aren’t, yet rambunctious they are. “Devil On My Shoulder” proves this by stomping its way along a pathway paved by driving percussion and classic Nashvillian guitar work.
The band slows it down at times, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to dig through. Digging can be intense in its own way. Even relaxing. Listening to these songs is kinda like gardening—cathartic, beautiful, and a workout all at the same time. The declaration of “love is a decision” in “I See You” was a line that stood out to me right as I was typing that previous thought. Just like hard work, love is an action more than it is a feeling. But it’s rewarding either way!
Rewarding either way… that could be a mantra of this EP. The enjoyability never falters. Don’t get me wrong—listening to this album isn’t something that would be considered “hard work,” but it’s analogous to some kinds of work in that it can be both be relaxing and contemplative. Passive and active listening are equally served here.
I would encourage you to actively listen, because you’ll pick up on fun moments and lyrical anecdotes that make you think. Both might happen at the same time. Or you might just get drawn into the journey, something that happens to me frequently. “Cannibals (Song For Aleppo)” veers toward post-rock at times. I wonder how similar the song would sound if Dustin Kensrue (of Thrice) decided to write a folky, americana leaning song.
My thought process in this review might have been a bit scattered, but know this: Arts Fishing Club have released one of the dark horse EPs of 2018. For fans of: Local Natives, The Anchor Collective, Needtobreathe, and The Head and the Heart.