Just when you figured angst must grow as thick on Pacific Northwest rockers as moss on the Douglas firs, here comes Hummingfish, a band as cheerful as it is groovacious. Imagine the B-52's crossed with the Grateful Dead, and you can almost hear the sweet, loose-limbed rhythm the Portland, Ore., group lays behind singer Deb Talan's vocals on "Real Life." "Love Tractor," the quasi-title track, has the stuttering bass and chukking guitars of South African township jive, while "Living Room," a meditation on long-distance love, is as danceable as it is wistful.
While not all of Hummingfish's tunes live up to the album's highlights—sometimes the lyrics are a trifle too oblique, and the melodies occasionally lose momentum—this fish is definitely swimming in the right direction. (Hummingfish)