Get local news delivered straight to your phone
We can't make City Paper without you
Enigmatic lyrics can be viewed as inward musings, impressionistic accounts of events, or prime examples of crap writing. On paper, the scribblings of Lungfish’s Daniel Higgs seem like late-night collegiate ramblings: “I beseech your long locust leg/Lust against a cloak of organs” (from “Jonah”) reads like it was randomly strung together in a post-exam come-down. But when Higgs voices his writings, they become succinct declarations; he barks, slurs, and ornaments the words like a manic preacher. But for all of Higgs’ energetic shaking and sweating, his band is planted and arid, creating stoically hypnotic music. Through four albums, Lungfish’s distinct style of dream-weaving has remained unchanged: Find a repetitious riff and grind it into dust. The group’s steady compositions allow Higgs to flare off into space, providing a stable reference to guide his return. Sound in Time’s “Signpost” and “To Whom You Were Born” are towers of babble, but also of power, as circular as Indian drones and infinitely more commanding. Guitarist Asa Osbourne is a master of flex and release, and the rhythm section is tense, restrained, and methodical. But it is Higgs who is the sphinx—calling himself A. Astronomo Erdman on the Maryland quartet’s last album sealed it—and his parables are what make Lungfish worth deciphering. Lungfish plays the Black Cat on Sunday, April 21.