REVIEW: Goldfish Smarts — Between Moonlight and The Music Shed (EP)
Between Moonlight and The Music Shed is the latest release from the Australian rock collective Goldfish Smarts. This is their latest release since their single, the moody ambient “Beach at Night” and their 2019 punchy single “Hence my Clobber”. Those are just two out of the many singles they’ve released over the course of the last 3 years and the group seems to show no sign of stopping.
Vocalist Phil Kelly steers the ship alongside guitarists and backing vocalists Michael Pilz and Mark Carlile, both lend an amazing helping hand in many places which make the textures of the songs feel vibrant and cinematic. Bassist Mike Syzmanski brings a grounded presence to the proceedings, keeping the band from veering towards ant sense of overindulgence with his fantastic pluckings, and the sheer talent by drummer Richard Murray brings the band together in a fabulous showcase of their talents. For those interested and want to get a great sense of the band’s progression over the years, including how they came out of the gate swinging hard, check out their first single, 2018s “Let me Sleep”. There the passion and instrumentals certainly made up for some of the more amateurish mixing and songwriting, but since then, they’ve become more fearless and sure of themselves and it shows in the music. They’re born and bred rockers without an ounce of pretentiousness on them, which is a feat considering how interesting and distinct their maze-like lyrics can be.
Starting with the jazzy blues-driven “Butterfly Decal” which almost serves as the best thesis for the bands’ abilities, Kelly, Pilz, and Carlile are working together in perfect sync, and you can distinctly tell each voice from one another, but it’s not overt and their range works perfectly in tandem with each other. Here they sing about the feeling of getting away from it all and it’s hard to describe, but they capture the feeling of driving with the wind in your hair. “Didn’t Need To Turn Around” the first single released on the EP is an excellent vocal extrapolation of love and almost seemingly sonically inspired by “Changes” by David Bowie, which is helped by Kelly’s oh so unique voice defies convention.
Cross Examined gets more introspective asking questions about our choices more often than not, our self-destructive ones. This one is the first to experiment with more exaggerated vocals and captures the feeling of exhaustion after an all-night bender. “Blame It On The” switches gears yet again and instead sets its sites on a more global scale, asking questions about our choices on the earth and with the people around us, which is incredibly relevant both here and in Australia especially considering the rampant debate over climate change that the band sites as one of the major inspirations for the song. Everything comes to an explosive close with the hard-rocking climax “In the Moment.” It’s not a particularly challenging piece of songwriting, but that’s not its intent. It’s a throwback and a love letter to Rock and it’s all the more compelling by the talent on display by the group. Highly recommended.