Best Of Blurt Vol. 1: The Fish Needs A Bike
Y'know that weird feeling you get when you realize that you've deprived yourself of a fantastic band because you couldn't be bothered to pay attention to them? You're disgusted with yourself for not noticing them... but also delighted, because hey, better late than never. That's how The Fish Needs a Bike makes me feel. I remember hearing Blurt a few times during the eighties, and I can't understand why I didn't drop whatever I was doing and hunt down all of their records.
As Fear's Lee Ving might put it, Blurt are all right if you like saxophones. Vocalist/sax man Ted Milton is the driving force behind these thirteen songs -- singing and howling like a drunk, belligerent dustman, skronking away on his sax as if he means to break down the thin wall between melody and dissonance. He certainly does some respectable damage: "Get", "Ruminant Plinth" and "My Mother was a Friend of an Enemy of the People" straddle the line between new wave and no wave, with regular references to free jazz, funk and the Ian Dury school of working class punk. "Enemy Ears" sounds like the fruit of a Wire/James Chance/Rapture team-up -- dance floor gold, for damn sure -- and "Poppycock"'s loose-limbed groove and goofy vocals land gently in hip-hop's back yard.
The deciding factor here is your response to Milton's sax. If you think of shrill, untethered squorts and squonks as endless, ear-abrading noise, The Fish Needs a Bike isn't for you. On the other hand, if you're thrilled by the glorious cacophony unleashed in "The Flags", "Bullets for You" and others, and realize that groups like !!! and the aforementioned Rapture could also profit from this sort of melodic schizophrenia, your Blurt collection begins here. The line for The Best of Blurt, Volume Two starts behind me.
George Zahora in Splendid