- reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Go Fish has been a staple in the a capella music scene throughout the midwest since 1996. The trio, comprised of Jamie Statema, Andy Selness, and Jason Folkmann, sought to add a bit of musical variety to the mid-90s scene, focusing on vocal harmonies rather than instrumentation. The young men soon became the blue-eyed soul version of notable acts such as Boyz II Men, Take 6, and, of course, Acapella. Since then, Go Fish has built their fan base from the ground up, selling an unprecedented 100,000 units of their 3 independent albums. The group tirelessly kept tabs on their product sales at more than 300 bookstores during the course of those 5 years, and also booked all of their concerts without the assistance of an agent.
As with any growing band, Go Fish felt the strain of juggling so many aspects of their singing career. Instead of tackling the next season of their profession without a label, they sought the help of InPop Records, a label that earnestly courted the band prior to their signing. The result of the union brings forth the group's latest effort, Infectious, which surprisingly marks the group's first use of instruments on an album.
The first two tracks, "I See You" and "Until the Stars Fall," had no problem holding my interest. It's clear producer Todd Collins (D.C. Talk, Katinas) crafted both tunes to have an infectious groove, no pun intended, while the group members added their vocal synchronicity. Other catchy tracks include the Newsong-inspired funky pop tune "What Mary Didn't Know" and the album's title cut, laced with a subtle electric guitar.
Although not terribly clever, "Clover Leaf Park" has a smooth finger snap sequence that sounds as though it could fit within a Backstreet Boys ballad. The group also calls upon the styles of A Cross Between and FFH on "You Remind Me" and "Lord I Give You Me." The latter closes the disc with the simple yet worshipful lyrics, "Lord I give you me/ Lord with every breath/ I'll worship you in life/ I'll worship you in death/ I lay down my heart/ It's all I have to give/ As long as I live."
"You're my Little Girl" has particular lyrical significance. It tells the story of a girl struggling in the midst of her parent's divorce. The guys sing of the Lord's comfort to the child as she wrestles with the anger and pain of her family's situation. "You're the one that I created/ No one in this would could ever be like you/ When you're cryin' in the night/ All you need to do is call me/ I'll be there for you/ 'Cuz you're my little girl." Longtime followers of the group may recall the track as being a popular crowd pleaser from their indie days. Their updated version seems awkward in comparison, mostly due to the occasional spacey-sounding synthesizer in the mix.
Although most of the tracks still make for a satisfying listen, Go Fish doesn't get off scott free. They're destined to be bombarded with questions from longtime fans as to their motives for abandoning the a capella genre. And I'd have to echo those sentiments, proposing that although Go Fish's latest project is tasty, it isn't nearly as inventive and didn't reel me in like some of their previous efforts have.