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A History of Sport Fishing

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Album Review

Thee More Shallows' debut, 2002's A History of Sport Fishing, is a subdued affair, focused on precise arrangements and emotive songwriting rather than the studio-as-instrument bombast of their incredible 2005 follow-up, More Deep Cuts, which became the model for their subsequent releases. They hadn't yet delved into the lo-fi but huge-sounding dynamics that make Cuts such a unique and powerful album. But the tension, paranoia, and despair that characterize the Shallows' modus operandi are readily present, perhaps in their formative stages, even if you have to read between the lines to see them (as in the barely restrained anguish of "The 8th Ring of Hell"). Gentle melodies, hypnotic rhythms, deliberate pacing, and whispered/mumbled vocals create an atmosphere of ennui that's constantly teetering between hopelessness and resignation (as in "The Perfect Map" and the title track). The arrangements have a post-rock feel — and there are a number of instrumentals included — but the simple, clean, and often chiming guitar lines, accented by a muted rhythm section and touches of keys, strings, and samples, result in perfect angst-pop confections (as in "The Ballad of Douglas Chin" and "I Do So Have a Sense of Humor"). It's the unstrained subtlety and understatement of the songs collected here that make A History of Sport Fishing such a rewarding listening experience and set the stage for the albums to come.

Customer Reviews

I love you, TMS.

It's mellow, it's yummy, it's ethereal. It makes me happy. It relaxes me. Great interlocking guitar parts. The tone of all the guitars, drums, and bass is really good, too. How do you review this band except to say that they're one of the best ever?

Where did this group disappear to?

All of their albums are good shoe gazer alt.
Where did they go? I want new material!

Biography

Formed: 2001 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Formed in San Francisco in 2001 when Michigan transplant Dee Kesler, North Carolina native Brian Fraser, and Californian Jason Gonzales met at a concert, Thee More Shallows (originally called simply Thee Shallows, a name they had to change when another group sent them a cease-and-desist order) wrote and recorded their debut, 2002's A History of Sport Fishing -- Fraser and Gonzales played the drums, bass, keyboards, and added in samples, and Kesler did everything else -- in rented studio space during...
Full Bio
A History of Sport Fishing, Thee More Shallows
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Contemporaries