Catfish Haven | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Catfish Haven


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In the last year and a half Catfish Haven have gone from relatively unknown to so ubiquitous it seems you can't go to a show without catching them. After an appearance at last year's SXSW, which set their hype ship afloat, these hirsute locals were courted by indie labels across the country and eventually signed to Secretly Canadian. Now, with the release of Please Come Back, their first recording for the label, the question looms--does it stand up to the hype? And the answer, quite clearly, is: well, sorta. The trio's proclivity for modest fidelity leaves their most genuine and catchy songs soaked in a wet wash of trebly treble. I personally go by the rule that loud cymbals shouldn't be the defining sound in the mix unless it's dance music; it's not so great when you're talkin' 'bout citified country punk, especially when it involves someone like George Hunter, whose singing is whiskey-damaged hillbilly soul of the "classic" caliber. Live they come off a bit like Neutral Milk Hotel stripped of their orchestral husk, fueled by trucker speed and a deep knowledge of early Meat Puppets. I get the feeling their best work is still on the way, but paying attention now isn't a bad idea. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Matthew Kerstein open. Sat 2/4, 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10.

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