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Posted on October 12th, 2011 (10:51 am) by Bradley Hartsell

By all accounts, with a name like Fishdoctor and an EP graced with an unfortunate pun (I'm With the Bandwith) these guys should be terrible. The goofiness ends in the opening credits, it seems, as Fishdoctor (hate typing that) strap in for fifteen minutes of pop seriousness. Sure, they mine the synth pop '80s for influence occasionally, especially on "If You're Not Sitting Down,", but they take the music serious enough. This Brooklyn outfit hit the right marks, crafting pop sensibility out of stripped down electro/rock arrangement.

"Summer in the Wintertime" opens the EP, an uptempo surfy rock groove--without a trace of electronic instrumentation. "Hawaiian Blizzard" ramps up the surf rock thing even higher, again without any electro. These two songs are pretty interchangeable (especially in the punchy rhythm), save for the distintive, and really good, melodies. "Hawaiian Blizzard", for a band touting a bad name/bad album title, there's a great deal of sophistication in their vocal harmonies. Again, through two songs, Fishdoctor play it completely straight with standard rock gear. "We Are We", however, starts with a very '80s synth pop vibe. Is this the same band? I guess so since nobody else would call themselves fucking Fishdoctor. There's about 1,200 different ways the synth-poppiness of "We Are We" could become trite and gimmicky. Somehow, they pull it off pretty damn well. Jared Lindbloom and Jessie Kings Lyon team up for a laconic duet, with a cool chorus that repeats "why'd you have to go and take my eyes?" "If You're Not Sitting Down," pushes the synth-pop thing a little too far, turning into a overcooked dance anthem, as if the band danced too close to the fire and it finally burned them.

Look, I can't explain why the first two songs are surf rock songs and the next two are electro-pop songs. I don't know why they're on the same album. I would assume to be different, but come on, that's pushing some boundaries. It's a little disconcerting, and there's no way this would ever work on a proper LP, but on a throwaway EP, sure, why not have two totally different genres mingling. The warm melodic wave of the first two songs are enough to carry the load, while the surprisingly sharp craft of "We Are We" make you throw up your hands and just let the band do what they want. "If You're Not Sitting Down," could have not happened and I'd be even happier. To add to my eternal confusion regarding this band, I have no idea what they are. I don't know where they're heading, but whatever. On (ugh) I'm With the Bandwith, the band flashes real pop chops and there's something oddly unique about them. Here's to hoping they harness it in the right way going forward. Cheers to Fishdoctor. Fucking Fishdoctor.

Track List:
1. Summer in the Wintertime
2. Hawaiian Blizzard
3. We Are We
4. If You're Not Sitting Down

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Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

73 / 100
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