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Cabin Flounder

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Album Review

In retrospect, Fetchin Bones presaged a lot of the trends that would crop up in what was not yet called indie rock over the next couple decades. But in 1985, they mostly just sounded kind of weird: far more aggressive than fellow post-R.E.M. southerners like Guadalcanal Diary, Fetchin Bones spun country and metal influences into their jangly college rock, but they didn't quite fit in any of those three styles. Gutsy, gravelly singer Hope Nicholls, as she would continue to be through the rest of the band's career, is the band's secret weapon, but at this point in their career, Fetchin Bones apparently didn't yet know what they had in her. Three songs feature guitarist Gary White on lead vocals, and they're the weakest on the album, especially the terribly dated ska-punk rave-up "What I Did"; the overextended album closer "Too Much" at least features bassist Danna Pentes' atmospheric violin fills and a spooky, echo-laden production job by Don Dixon in its favor. Unfortunately, either Dixon or the band itself succumb to the temptation of outright mimicry on one song: "Plus Seven" could be an outtake from Murmur, right down to Pentes' Mike Mills cop of a bassline. However, that handful of weaker songs is counterbalanced by giddy rockers like "A Fable" and "So Brilliant" and odd but successful experiments like the two-minute blast of western swing "Black Lilies." Fetchin Bones' later albums would be more consistent, but Cabin Flounder was an intriguing if scattershot debut.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in North Carolina

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Fetchin Bones missed the boat. Grungy years before grunge became an international phenomenon, Fetchin Bones wrote the blueprint for loud, metal-fueled, and female-led alternative groups like L7 and Hole to eventually reconstruct and take to the masses. Once college-radio all-stars, Fetchin Bones became forgotten left-of-the-dial pioneers, probably because their bluesy, American hard-rock sound polarized the mostly British tastes of campus programmers in the mid to late ‘80s. Featuring vocalist Hope...
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Cabin Flounder, Fetchin' Bones
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