Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bizarre Song Titles

With well over 300 tracks available to download on their official website, Dayglo Fishermen have created an incredibly varied back catalogue of music. It's a tremendous collection of emotive, inspirational, serious, haunting, and more often than not, bizarre compositions that can impress and bewilder in equal measure. And that is probably the intention.

But it's not just the content of the songs that can leave the listener perplexed. Some of the song titles can have the same effect, and more often than not seem utterly disconnected from the lyrics or music. Here are some of the strangest, and the story behind them (if there is one).

Blue Container

The song 'Blue Container' is the opening track of the band’s debut album, 'Drenched'. Released in 1990, the track is the aural equivalent of Red Bull, and a highly potent way to kick off the band's first ever release.  It's also likely to be have been the first experience of Dayglo Fishermen's music for many.

The Italian/piano house-influenced track begins with someone arriving at the door asking about a party. Judging by the echo the party is in a large stone building, maybe a castle - a premonition perhaps of the band's first live event at the ancient Moot Hall in Hexham the following year.

A blue container, photographed by the band on the Northumberland coast in 1990, shortly after the release of the 'Drenched' album

The unusual name of the track has no deep meaning at all. It is simply a variation of 'Black Box', the name of a popular house music group at that time. Apparently the band thought the piano on the track was very similar to that on on the song 'Ride on Time', which indeed it is.


Like all the band's early albums, the album 'Strange Plaice' contains many bizarre song titles. One of the oddest is 'T.E.S.'. The track features lengthy samples of tribal singing, recorded by chance as the band flitted through radio stations searching for inspiration. The samples are underpinned by a melodic reggae-style bass and guitar rhythm, and pan pipes.

Tribal singer

Dayglo Fishermen had no way to translate what was being sung, and to this day the language of the tribe remains unknown. Without inspiration from the lyrics the band had no choice but to name the song 'T.E.S.', which is apparently an abbreviation of 'Token Ethnic Song'.

'F' Creeky Siren Nook

The band's third album,'Fresh Gin', is by far the band's strangest, with almost every song and title oozing oddness. ''F' Creeky Siren Nook' has to be the strangest song title on the album.

It's almost impossible to figure out where such a name would come from until you realise that the backing music of the track is simply the band's earlier song 'Free Roky Erickson' played backwards. The title, in case you haven't guessed, is an anagram of that song's name.

But Where Were the Mice?

'And So It Is' is a short album, recorded over a very brief period in January 1992. Despite that, Dayglo Fishermen managed to create one of their most iconic songs during that session: 'But Where Were the Mice'.

Most of the lyrics were written with relative ease, but the band struggled for a while with the last line of the second verse which required a suitable rhyme for 'ice'; one that would be a fitting end to the story being told. Eventually, and in true Dayglo Fishermen style, the rather perplexing line 'Salvation was his, but where were the mice?' was chosen. After that the most appropriate title for the song must have become glaringly obvious.

Welcome to the Pteranodon

The 'What the Hell' album, released in 1992 was in many ways a transitional album. After the tense and often torturous recording experience of the previous 'dark' album, 'Magic Organ' (see the article 'The Art of Darkness'), only Peter and Richard managed to stay on as band members. The new album was lighter, fresher, and devoid of the harsh synths and guitars of its doom-ridden predecessor.

The album's final song is 'Welcome to the Pteranodon'. It has a relentless and hypnotic quality, due mainly to the heavily delayed drums, random radio tuning sounds and melodic guitar. Only the chorus contains lyrics which state 'I'm looking for the perfect life'.

A Pteranodon such as this should indeed be welcomed

Unfortunately there is no clue from either the music or the lyrics as to why the song was given its title, and certainly the countdown at the end, and the massive explosion that follows, further clouds the issue. There could well be some unfathomably deep meaning in the name somewhere just waiting to be revealed. Perhaps the Pteranodon, a huge flying prehistoric reptile, is intended as a metaphor for 'the perfect life'? That is something to be pondered.

Nag Lisa

Why 'Nag Lisa' has such a title is unknown, which is a shame as the track (featured on the 1993 album, 'Animate') is one of Dayglo Fishermen's greatest instrumentals. With a powerful non-sequenced synth line and guitar playing off each other through much of the track, and a spacial and rather dreamy mid section with its echoing piano and strings, it delivers an almost symphonic experience.

It's a truely epic composition.

'Nag Lisa' proved so popular it spawn two sister tracks on the 'Big Spoon' album the following year: 'Lisa' and 'Lisa Composed', with the original making a reappearance six years after that on the 'Dayglo Pizza' album.

Space Dog

In 1997, after a long break following their relocation to London, Dayglo Fishermen released the much anticipated 'Space Dog' album. With a new vocalist, Ginny, on board, the album took the band in a new but no less interesting and unusual direction.

The album's title track, 'Space Dog', is a bizarre tale about an interstellar dog, much revered throughout the galaxy, that travels to Earth and lands in England during a particularly cold winter. She is compelled to head north, enjoying 'a chilling place of mirth' on the way. But her visit is brief. She soon departs from what appears to be the far north of England and heads back into the void.

Space Dog

Unusually the image for the album cover and the album's title were decided long before most of the tracks were even written and recorded. The song 'Space Dog' was written to fit in with the image, which has become one of the band's most loved and recognisable album covers.

Irritating Cliché

Dayglo Fishermen's classic 1998 pop album, 'Painting Aliens' contains some of the band's most recognised songs, but the album's final track, 'Irritating Cliché', is often overlooked. This is a shame as it's another one of the band's great instrumentals.

Beginning with a deep and almost vocal synth it quickly builds to a crescendo of orchestral keyboards and guitar, before falling back to mellow and slightly melancholic second part played at half the tempo.

The original name for the track was actually 'Irritating Chloe'. Apparently it was written to intentionally annoy a local newspaper reporter who was not too complementary about Dayglo Fishermen's music. The band eventually decided against it and altered the name, perhaps because it would not be so annoying to her after all.

The music was used to great effect on the opening titles and closing credits of a short animation film, 'The Creature from Devil's Gorge'.

Nerdlinger One

The 'Comet Nerdlinger' album, released in 2001, featured a couple of unusually named songs, but 'Nerdlinger One' is certainly the oddest one.

The album name was decided during a visit to a pub not far from Dayglo Fishermen's Buckinghamshire production facility. The album was about half way through the recording process at the time. A group of grey, bearded and slightly unkempt men were seen entering the pub, and the band joked that they were there to celebrate the discovery of a new comet. The name 'Comet Nerdlinger One' was given to that fictitious comet.

Comet Nerdlinger One - the original image for the album cover that was eventually replaced by a lighter version

After a sample-filled intro of unusual sounds and the voices of child and of something not human, the track thumps to life with a high tempo bass and drum pattern and mellow synths and guitar. Those instruments soon build to a harsher sound, dominated by guitar, and then everything drops away as a spoken vocal tells the story of the comet's approaches Earth. But it's no ordinary comet. As our planet passes through the comet's tail microscopic alien life forms rain down, infecting all human life. We evaporate, and rise up to join with the comet.

Chilling stuff...

(J) Hoedown on Mars (Marsbard)

This final song title is definitely the most peculiar and surreal of them all, and we need to go all the way back to the 'Strange Plaice' album to find it.

'(J) Hoedown on Mars (Marsbard)' begins in a dreamy fashion, with the Korg M1 keyboard's signature 'Universe' sound, before a high-tempo drum and base rhythm kick in. A voice begins singing a song that is obviously unrelated in any way to the backing music. The song, sung by a local folk vocalist, is actually Plasir D'Amour by John Baez.

The track is an incomprehensible mash up of genres that must be baffling even to hardcore Dayglo Fishermen fans (and even to the band itself).

The song finishes with cheers, shouts and a round of applause from a very excited audience. Whether that's for the performance of the vocalist, or for the bravery of the band to close the album with such a song is up to the listener to decide.

It's a classic early Dayglo Fishermen experience.

There are many more bizarre song titles in Dayglo Fishermen's vast collection of music. Most of those are to be found on the early albums, but the later albums also have their odd moments. Visit the music page on the band's official website and see what you can find.

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