Some albums that mean everything to some, can mean nothing to others. Take a look at Scenery and Fish.
I Mother Earth’s second album gets a slew of 4 and 5 star ratings on the Canadian Amazon. Yet I don’t get it and never have. I was on the I Mother Earth train very early, before their first album came out. I loved the modern heaviness of the band. With the tribal and funk influences seeping through, I Mother Earth put out a seriously impressive debut album: a Canadian classic. As any band should, they mixed it up a bit on the second album.
In early 1996 I received a promo CD for the first single from the second album, “One More Astronaut”, with the album version and a 4:35 edit. It didn’t seem too different, maybe just a bit more concise than some of the first album’s longer jams. This isn’t indicative of the album in general, which is a wild ride of different styles.
The exotic percussion (by Luis Conte and Daniel Mansilla) is still intact, melded with the funk bass, but the overall sound is very different. Paul Northfield’s production is cleaner and slicker than Mike Clink’s on the first LP. He still enables to band to exercise their instruments unfettered, but perhaps with a more radio friendly backing.
Although I’ve tried over and over again through the past two decades to let Scenery and Fish “click”, it just won’t. Other fans certainly have their favourite tracks: “Like a Girl”, “Raspberry”, “Used to be Alright”, “Another Sunday”. These are indeed some of the best tracks on the album, yet I struggled to remember how they go. “Another Sunday”, for example has an incredible blast of hooks for a chorus, but no memorable verses. Maybe this album is too thick with musical ideas and passages for the average mortal.
But that’s just me. You might think I’m nuts. There are those who think I Mother Earth can do no wrong, but fans in general love Scenery and Fish, while I simply don’t get it. I’ll always enjoy “One More Astronaut” and “Like a Girl”, which by the way features a friend of theirs named Alex from some band called Rush.