If you’re looking for a fantastic indie album with an effortless blend of shoegaze, folk, pop, emo, alt-rock, psych-rock, and more look no further than the latest from feeble little horse. Girl with Fish is one of the best rock projects released in 2023, and the second album from feeble little horse establishes the band as one of the most exciting acts in music right now.
Having reached the midway point of 2023, it’s only normal to look back on the year’s music to try and find some highlights, and while it may be a more recent addition to my favorites, I’m not sure there’s an album I’ve enjoyed more than this one.Girl with Fish is the second release from Pittsburg band feeble little horse, following their wild debut album (name another rock record that hit you with a ‘yo Pierre you wanna come out here?‘, betcha can’t) from two years ago, and the band’s blend of shoegaze, psych-rock/rap, pop, indie, and alt-rock has only gotten better.
Lead singer Lydia Slocum’s vocals and lyrics were solid on the band’s first album, but there’s a dramatic improvement on their second release. Slocum’s back and forth with guitaristSebasti an Kinsler on “Sweet”, the killer hook, and more prevalent drums give the track a bit of an emo flair and it sounds fantastic – easily standing out as one of the album’s best songs. The songwriting on Girl with Fish takes a step up from their last album as well, and it helps tracks like “Tin Man” soar, as it really helps provide extra depth and meaning to the tracks that most albums that are as short (only a 26-minute runtime for 11 tracks) as this one don’t come close to meeting, and it’s growing to be a real strong suit for feeble little horse.
feeble little horse delivers some of the highest highs that you’ll hear on an indie rock record this year. “Freak” is a phenomenal opening track with sarcastic and almost bitter lyrics; it’s a song that works equally well as a pop track and as a heavily produced, warped rock track. There’s an almost psych-rock vibe to some of the album’s stronger moments, particularly on “Paces”, where Slocum’s dreamy vocals and fantastic delivery gets stuck in your head.
As good as Girl with Fish is from a vocal and lyrical standpoint, the production on the album is even better. The closest the project gets to going full-on mbv style shoegaze is the phenomenal track “Steamroller” (which is also the raunchiest the project gets, lyrically) and it’s one of the few modern tracks that give the genre a try and also manage to pull off how catchy shoegaze can be at its best. “Paces” is a simpler track, sure, but the dreamy guitars are just completely irresistible and perfectly complement Slocum, helping deliver one of the best hooks on the album.
For an album with as many batshit crazy moments on the production side as Girl with Fish, feeble little horsealso made an album with just as many incredibly catchy ones. “Pocket” is one of the best tracks of the year, and the initial sing-songy delivery on “Do you wanna be in my pocket?” almost immediately gets stuck in your head, the track only getting better (and wilder) as it closes. The album’s closer, “Heavy Waters”, has some of the calmest production on the album, but the track’s almost folky style is delivered incredibly well and sticks with you as the album wraps up:
‘Use my imagination to sin
Can’t cough up the key to get in
Knocked up by a dead man I’m thin
I’m alone in baby-making
Every fucking day of my life
A dead man is fucking me, I can’t hide
I can’t get him out from inside
Can’t cough up the key to get in‘
Girl with Fish might be the best indie rock album to release this year and should stay an album of the year contender as the year goes on. Hopefully going forward, feeble little horse will be able to grow and expand their sound to get even more irresistible in future releases, but for now, let’s hope for the best in the present, as the band canceled their tour for the album’s release, citing a need to ‘reassess our little world for our continued health.‘