Monday, 4 March 2019

Unfathomable Lyrics

There are many songs on Dayglo Fishermen's vast back-catalogue of albums that contain quite unusual lyrics. This is part of the appeal of the band, but it can also cause confusion and even frustration as to what the meaning behind the lyrics actually is. There is never an official explanation, and that is probably because the band wants the listeners to make up their own minds, or interpret things in relation to their own lives.

One song in particular has been the subject of great debate, but so far a comprehensive and widely accepted definition of its true meaning has yet to emerge. That song is, of course, 'Flaxen', from the band's 1993 album, 'Animate'. It's heavy drums and bass, drenched in gated reverb, pound away relentlessly as some of the most unfathomable lyrics in history are unleashed.

The cover image for Dayglo Fishermen's 1993 album, 'Animate'

The song contains four distinct sections of lyrics, so let's take each in turn. First I will attempt to explain the story. Only then can a possible meaning, if indeed there is one, become clear.

Part One

Listen, extraordinary
Legendary, driving, pounding
Disenchanting harmonies
Need settlement inside a globe
Relocate the spinal chimes
Within its clamouring confines
Of masquerading slimy, shiny
Apple-feasting fools
I consider the 'harmonies' mentioned in line three as some kind of intelligent beings. The preceding adjectives suggest that they are quite amazing, famous, but ultimately disappointing creatures. They need to be moved into some kind of globe, for protection from something yet to be revealed. Within the globe are apple-eating entities, but they are 'masquerading'. This suggests that they cannot be trusted. But what else can the harmonies do but join them?

Part Two

Phantoms silhouetted sharply
Petrify the incandescent
Bodies that revolve around and round
The focal point of sound
Eradicate with shrewd precision
Dissonant, mischievous tones
Purify and fully mend
The madness: it must end
The phantoms are without doubt what the harmonies are fleeing from. Whatever they are, they appear suddenly from the direction of the light to mask their approach. They terrorise the harmonies as they go about their business at 'the focal point of sound': their home. The time has come for the phantoms to be destroyed. The whole area must be cleansed of their presence before peace and sanity can return.

Part Three

Shadows casting incantations
Spectral ghouls from fiendish nations
Trample massively upon
The sound assembled cunningly
Grievous situations need
Omnipotence excessively
The Mystic Mite of flaxen flesh
Must rule the waves of pain
A great war takes place. 'Spectral ghouls' - beings from numerous worlds - unite against the phantoms, but the phantoms prove to be a formidable foe. With the situation becoming desperate, and defeat almost inevitable, the harmonies and their allies call upon the 'Mystic Mite', an immortal and golden-skinned entity, for help.

Part Four

They caterwaul atrociously
Then stress-fully depart the sphere
As glowing grinning escalating
Soaring symphonies unfold
'Agonising tones!' they wail
Cringing as their size reduces
Flinching densely as coercion
Shapes a singularity
The Mystic Mite's almost god-like powers prove to be most effective. The phantoms, who had surrounded the globe where the harmonies had fled to, scream and disperse as the Mystic Mite's extraordinary capability is unleashed. But they cannot escape. The Mystic Mite forms a singularity - a super-dense point of matter with an inescapable gravitational field - right next to the phantoms. They are crushed by the singularity's incredible forces and effectively vanish.

Peace returns. The harmonies are safe, or so they may think.


The choruses are filled with quickly spoken and often mumbled Japanese, which is largely incomprehensible. The final chorus closes with a repeated phrase which translates to English as follows:

This is the facsimile mode

How does this relate to the story? Perhaps this is a warning to the harmonies? Perhaps the apple-feasting fools are not really their friends? After all, they are described as 'masquerading'. Perhaps they are involved in some sort of cloning activity, and invited the harmonies into their globe with malicious intent? Could the globe be the 'facsimile mode'?

It seems that the harmonies, desperate to escape the phantoms, failed to see the mortal danger that faces them once the Mystic Mite leaves. Their fate within the 'facsimile mode' may well end up worse than the one they would have suffered at the hands of the phantoms.

The Meaning?

I have let my thoughts dwell on these lyrics for quite some time, but any deep meaning eludes me. I suspect there isn't any. At most it is telling us that there is safety in numbers, and that it is wise to maintain a good relationship with those that can help you in a crisis. And it is also useful to know someone very powerful who you can call on during the very worst times.

But it is also telling us to beware of those that offer help too readily. However desperate you become for help, always remember to read the small print.

If there is a deeper meaning then the lyrics will need many more years of study to uncover it. That is no bad thing. Many works of art are discussed and reinterpreted again and again for decades, even centuries. Such efforts can arguably be more enjoyable and satisfying that the artwork itself. That may well be the case here.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Quietly in Production

It's well over three years since the release of Dayglo Fishermen's last studio album, 'Midnight Souls Still Remain'. But there still has not been much official news about the new album that's currently in production.

The first, and barely noticeable, confirmation that a new album is in the works appeared on the band's official website early in 2017. Look at the first entry on the history page for 2017. It's probably the most low-key announcement of the commencement of a new album that the band has ever made.

A year later on this blog a little bit more information on the new album was revealed in the article 'Instruments of Mass Destruction', indicating that it will be largely instrumental. It is mentioned as almost an after thought: a casual comment to finish off what is a remarkably insightful read. That brief comment will certainly have set the minds of fans racing.

Unfortunately no more details than that are available, and it's unlikely that anything else will be officially revealed until very close to the album's release. But, for well over a year now, there have been numerous signs that things are progressing steadily. A sustained increase in activity has been noticed at the band's main production facility, Cozmic Studios, and also at their South London production suite, Mammoth Studios.

Such activity does not provide any clue as to what the new album will sound like, but the more observant among you may well have noticed other recent changes that could offer up some idea as to the sound of the new album. For example, it did not go unnoticed that the band debuted a new synthesiser at their 2016 Limelight Theatre concert - the Roland FA-06.

A major clue as to how the new Dayglo Fishermen album might sound was spotted at the band's most recent Limelight Theatre concert in 2016. That clue is the band's new synthesiser, the Roland FA-06, which was debuted without warning. It can be seen here being played by Peter Fothergill.

The rich sampled and synthesised tones of the keyboard can be heard on the recording of that concert, titled 'Midnight Souls Come (a)Live', and on the numerous concert DVD exerts on the band's YouTube channel. Listening and watching those gives tantalising hints as to the aural textures that can be expected on the new album.

More unconfirmed information seems to have been leaked directly from Dayglo Fishermen's production facilities. It's been said that there is a new guitar and new effects equipment at Cozmic Studios. And there's even another new synthesiser at that studio: a Korg Krome workstation.

Cozmic Studio's new Korg Krome Workstation, seen here in an exclusive photo taken in the facility's digital composition suite. 

Finally, it's no secret that Cozmic Studios was recently converted into a state-of-the-art 32-track recording studio, which will certainly influence the sound of the new album, and add new depth to the band's compositions. Recording and mix-down will now remain entirely in the digital domain, which will result in a clarity of sound never before heard - an intoxicating prospect.

Daylo Fishermen's new 32-track digital recording suite

All of the above shows that the band are investing heavily in keeping their sound current and relevant, and are maximising their ability to realise their creativity.

Of course, trying to imagine how the new album will sound is an almost impossible task, even with the clues mentioned above. Dayglo Fishermen are never predictable. It's best to just wait for the album's release, however long and grueling that wait may be.