Lungfish, one of Baltimore's most revered bands as well the only major Dischord Records act based outside Washington D.C., hasn't released new music in nearly a decade. But they were paid tribute on a great album released this week by a D.C. band, erstwhile labelmates Beauty Pill, who covered 'Ann The Word' from Lungfish's 1998 album "Artificial Horizon." I wrote about "Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are" for Noisey, which is streaming the album.
The odd thing, however, is that there are two tracks titled 'Ann The Word' on the album. Track 3 is a Beauty Pill original, and track 12 is the Lungfish cover. The former was the first song Beauty Pill frontman Chad Clark wrote for the album, originally uploading it to MySpace in 2006. I asked Clark if he'd thought about the Lungfish song when he wrote it, and he explained that if he did, it was only subconsciously. "In the back of my mind, I must have. But it wasn't a reference." As a longtime member of Dischord's in-house studio team, Clark mastered several Lungfish albums, and recorded or mixed albums by Lungfish vocalist Daniel Higgs and the side project The Pupils. "My choice to cover the song was not an 'I know those guys!' choice. It was like, this a great piece of music, the words are really heavy."
Still, the 'Ann The Word' cover came about late in the lengthy gestation of "Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are." The original running order ended with the song 'Near Miss Stories,' but the more Clark listened to the Lungfish song, with its foreboding refrain "This is the last song I sung," the more it appealed to him as a coda for his own album. "Both songs with that title have this sense of just disintegrating. 'We're at the end and I give up,' a surrender to the void. And I was like, 'Oh, that's interesting.'"
Beauty Pill Decribes Things As They Are is available now from Butterscotch Records.