I wrote the following thing about the Washington D.C. band Lungfish after the last time I saw them. To be honest, when I first heard them, I really didn’t care for them. But man (and woman), time, as Lungfish has said, “is a weapon of time.” Over time, I appreciate Lungfish more and more with each album they create.
Essentially, they’re all not that different, and most people will attest to that fact. But there’s something about them, and the fact that they continue to unabashedly pursue the sound they first realized in 1988, that makes me a bigger fan with each album they produce.
I know there’s eventually going to be a time when I won’t be able to expect a new Lungfish album every year or so, and though I don’t look forward to that time, I am aware that it approaches. Maybe that explains why I’m so entralled by their music? Becuase I’m ultimately surprised that the band is still doing something that they set out to do a very, very long time ago?
I honestly can’t explain, I just know whom I was, whom I am now, and additionally, that Lungfish has been there for a good portion of it. That speaks to me (duh!)….
To exist is to change. Nothing created can remain static throughout it’s existence. It is the nature of evolution and the law of life, something Baltimore’s Lungfish has been ducking since the late 80’s.
Lungfish has played what some might call “the same song” since around 1988, maturing in slightness through the droning two-chord structures of hypnotic and meditative repetition; but still adhering to and refining the “sameness” aesthetic that was created over 15 years ago in a Baltimore practice space.
It is this consistency of “sameness” that has remained with Lungfish throughout their existence. Outside of writing songs, making records and the odd tour, there are no preconceived notions of growth, promotion or fame among the band. The one seemingly true goal among the collective members of Lungfish is the music, and that fact has neither faded nor faltered. The song (and aim) has consistently remained the same.
Lungfish, by definition, is a band. Yet, the parameters that define the business driven, marketable motivations of many current independent bands is nowhere to be found among the four members of the “band.” Interviews are rarely given, the band members remain staunchly guarded over their personal lives, and the only form of promotions outside of releasing new records is the live Lungfish show; an exercise in espousing the other-wordly imagery of Daniel Higgs’ lyrics, filled with riddles of organic creation, existence, and the devolution of being.
The Lungfish live show, though prophetic in deliverance, is not a common occurrence. Lungfish tours are sporadic, as band members split their time between playing with other bands, writing books and working as tattoo artists. It is this start and stop rhythm that may well attest to the band’s longevity, as well as the band’s “sameness.”
As periods of activity give way to periods of inactivity, the collective members of Lungfish separate and regroup, only to start over again with each new album released on Washington D.C.’s Dischord Records.
With each new album, Lungfish regroups to write the “same song,” growing organically from within, more accurate and slightly more mature. (Just not enough to let a true fan feel as if the familiarity of their old friend Lungfish was gone.)
Impervious to the notions of time and change, the members of Lungfish exist. It is this static existence that has bore them a status some would call legendary. But for Lungfish, it seems that a static existence simply allows Lungfish to be, Lungfish. Lungfish exists because their “sameness” allows them to.
The latest Lungfish album, ‘Feral Hymns,’ is available from Dischord Records, online at www.dischord.com.