Eliot Fish – Trick Of Light

Eliot Fish is known for his work as a bass player with Big Heavy Stuff and Todd Sparrow and he does an excellent job of producing melodic and melancholic guitar pop music (with added keys) on his debut, six-track EP, Trick Of Light.

Eliot Fish has done a fine job of weaving intricate and spiraling guitars together with just the right amount of thought and poignancy where the music plays out like a perfect dream boasting a cinema score for a soundtrack. The guitars are rich, they jangle and chime and the overall feeling is one of tension, where things are pushed to the limits but are never allowed to break. But ultimately this EP is full of layered, taut pop that is clever, fragile, honest and well made.

This set was recorded in France and mixed in Sydney and Fish has said on Facebook that he’s influenced by “People, sound, places, light, weather, stuff and things” and that “Music, art, science and dogs” make him happy. They’re all such simple pleasures but if it means he can create such opulent and well-crafted music then who’s really complaining?

Here In Nowhere immediately grabs at your heartstrings in an – ahem – heartbeat. With backing vocals by Natasha Penot (from the band Grisbi) it’ s also the kind of shiny pop music you could imagine R.E.M. writing.

The following title track also sounds like it comes via the pen of another songwriter. Although this too is about some pleasant pop, this one is more of the Crowded House variety (and it’s hardly a surprise to learn that Fish has toured with Finn and co). There are also plenty of soul-searching moments coupled with distortion, colour, layers and the passing of time, much like a lot of the songs offered here. Plus, the lyrics on this track – like the remainder of the EP – are on the surreal-side and call to mind Neil Finn’s standard, meaning they are often vivid and open to interpretation, as the words simply sound perfect together.

The EP’s closer, Hate To Love has been receiving some airplay but Missionary is a stronger cut. The latter boasts strange tape loops that breathe and skip around like crazy at the start and by the end you get the broodiness of a hot summer storm or something reminiscent of Bluebottle Kiss circa Revenge Is Slow. It’s a strong number that is backed up perfectly by Splattered Black which sounds like it should’ve been on The Church’s Priest = Aura.