The Blue Fish Diamond in the Rough
Late 2016 saw the formation of indie-folk band Blue Fish Diamond.
Late 2018 saw the septet inspire the Irish music scene with the release of debut album ‘From Dark to Light’, displaying their flare for beautifully soft blues, backed with complex instrumentation and exquisitely smooth multi-voiced harmonies.
Now, we arrive to July 8th, 2021, with the release of mellifluously-crafted single ‘Song For Love’ and – appropriate to the title – I fell in love with this song.
Diving straight into this little gem of folk music, I initially really admired the sentimental foundation of the song’s thematic core, being described as alluding to ‘a connection that transcends the material world’ by lead vocalist/guitarist Jim Murphy. This makes me feel as though I am listening to love in its purest form. It is so refreshing, amidst the pandemic, to experience a mirthful narrative, rooted in beach-resemblant romance.
Embellishing the intro with Laura Ryder’s virtuosic piano skills, the tranquillity and mellow dynamic of every note acts as the perfect trail for Jim Murphy’s feather-light vocals to follow. The small hint of lilting brogue from Murphy’s lyric delivery is mesmerising, adding the additional layer of homely roots to this single, making the story behind it feel more authentic.
The slow-burning verses are beautiful, with lyricism such as ‘Close your eyes and imagine somewhere new / Let’s take a trip to the dark side of the moon’, prompting me to imagine a perfect summer’s breeze in my hair as I drive into the sunset in a fancy cabriolet. When I heard those lyrics, I thought it would be perfect for those experiencing the exhilaration of new, budding love in their lives.
Not only the lyricism, I particularly like the instrumental arrangement of the single. After listening to the track several times to truly appreciate the instrumentation, the beginning leads us into a slow tempo of the subtle bass riff, complemented by the carefully, sparse use of Shay Sweeney’s romantic drumbeats. The spatial arrangement of the instruments is particularly impressive. Displaying how experienced and cohesive they are as a septet, it seems they know exactly when to emphasise the vocals of Murphy (and his back-up vocalists, Matilda O’Mahony and Ella Ryan) and when to better illuminate the luscious lull of the instrumental aspects.
Speaking of back-up vocals, Ryan and O’Mahony add to the dulcet tones of Murphy’s leading voice, oozing vulnerability and frailty that sound so amazing; especially when combined with the singing, sonorous string element with what sounds like a sweet addition of violin music in the chorus. As if the chorus could not be more bountiful in distinct tones, the sparks of joy are audible in the relaxing construction of Axel Mcdonald’s guitar chords, sending me into a meditative daydream of being serenaded on a tropical beach. The escapism this song provides is breathtakingly and the balance of all of the instrumental complexity is genius.
As a band, they are a staple of their genre. What I am referring to, is that regarding usually what comes to mind when listening to indie-folk music, I tend to think of artists like Bon Iver
The influences of alt-rock band R.E.M is prevalent in Blue Fish Diamond’s works, specifically the songs with a slowed tempo like ‘Find The River’. It is so nice to see how the group has developed their influences to be similar enough to give me, as a R.E.M fan, reminders of music I have liked for years, whilst being unique enough to make me realise I need more of Blue Fish Diamond in my playlist – because there is not another band like them.
It is, simply put, a perfect arrangement of softness and subtly, making every note impassioned in a beautifully smooth tone.
It makes me incredibly excited to see what they do in the future and thankfully for me, I won’t be waiting for much longer. Along with the release of this beautiful single, the band will also be announcing their new album ‘Frozen Stars on the Night’ which will be released on 28th October and is also available for pre-order on Bandcamp!
I can’t wait to review this album – Blue Fish Diamond, you surely made a fan out of me today!
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Article By Rebecca Todd