ChartChatUK

talks about the latest releases in the music world

Chart Chat Album Review : ‘Fish – A Feast Of Consequences’ (standard edition 09.09.13 / deluxe 25.09.13)


Chart Chat Album Review : Fish – ‘A Feast Of Consequences’ (09.09.13 with deluxe edition due 25.09.13)

Let’s start with a quick history lesson.  Fish is very much an artist in his own right, and is no longer “the singer from Marillion” – in fact he left them as long ago as 1988. He released his first solo album ‘Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors’ in 1990 and this represents his tenth long player (excluding live releases and compilations). He is about to start on the second leg of The Moveable Feast Tour, and if you go along he might even throw in the odd track from his time with Marillion!  What follows is a look at the album, track by track. 

The standard version is currently available from http://www.fishheadsclub.com with a deluxe version (complete with 100 page booklet and DVD) is set for release at the end of September.  The website also contains details of forthcoming live dates in the UK and Europe.

Perfume River

The track opens with the stirring sound of bagpipes (sampled from ‘Sergeant MacKenzie’) playing in the background before the first lyrics kick in with the song based around the Perfume River in Vietnam.  It serves to draw the listener in from the very start. The rockier side of Fish takes over with four minutes to go singing “carry me down to the perfume river / set me adrift on a well stocked open boat”. The entire song is just a couple of seconds short of eleven minutes and is an epic start to the album.

All Loved Up

It almost feels disrepectful to label it as such, but if there was a four minute pop single on the album this would be it.  Lyrically Fish takes a swipe at some of the less desirable aspects of the internet and its impact on celebrities. “Humiliation, I don’t really care / I’ll be outrageous / I’ll be the king of the freak show / To get the exposure” could be about the wannabe’s that crowd Big Brother each year, or the desperate celebrities eating cockroaches in the jungle.  It rocks along and offers a singalong hook line that will stick inisde  your head after the first listen.  I’m looking forward to hearing this one performed live. 

Blind To The Beautiful

Fish is as much a poet as he is a lyricist and that comes to the fore for me on this track.  “The canyons burning, forests consumed by the flames / Wildfires rage across the plains to be starved by barren soil” allows the listener to create their own landscape to the song. Musically it’s kept quite simple with Aidan O’Rourke’s violin adding an important touch to the song along with backing vocals from Elisabeth Troy Antwi.

A Feast Of Consequences

The title track is the shortest track here with a running time of under four and a half minutes. “We were running out of words, running out of lines, running out of things to say” sings Fish over a rocky backdrop of electric guitars. Again I could envisage this being a single, but trying to get airplay on the mainstream stations in 2013 for an artist who is over 40 is an almost impossible task.

High Wood Suite i) High Wood ii) Crucifix Corner iii) The Gathering iv) Thistle Alley v) The Leaving

This set of songs forms the cornerstone of the album and starts with the slow but menacing rock of “High Wood” which lyrically deals with the death of soldiers in World War I.  For those unaware High Wood was the scene of intense fighting during the Battle Of The Somme. For me “Crucifix Corner” is one of the albums highlights as it builds nicely with lyrics such as “I’ve seen you through these bloody days and I’ll see you through another / I promise you we will meet again in the shade of crucifix corner”.  At just over seven minutes long it’s not one for the commercial radio stations but for fans who appreciate epic rock songs it’s a real cracker. “The Gathering” starts with some beautiful brass (a real trumpet, trombone, tuba and flugelhorn appear on this track) before progressing to become an uptempo yet acoustic based track.  By the time the song ends we are over seventeen minutes into the suite, but as a listener you remained gripped until the end.  Next up is “Thistle Alley” which has a rockier feel to it  and is named after a trench in the Battle Of The Somme. It tells the tale of aircraft flying overhead while soldiers die on the ground and in the album booklet it is depicted by a stunning piece of Mark Wilkinson artwork.  The suite ends with ‘The Leaving’ which deals with the end of the war, and ends with the poignant lyric “lest we forget”.  Twenty eight minutes of music and inspirational lyrics draw to a close.

The Other Side Of Me

The balladeer side of Fish is back on this one.  The opening lyric is “When the zephyrs pulse the sails, I take the tiller in my fingers, Feluccas dancing, flirting on the swollen Nile” – you wouldn’t get something as beautiful as that from many other artists.  Fish conjurs images with his colourful lyrics, while Mark Wilkinson offers the listener another insight via his beautiful accompanying pictures. It’s not necessarily my favourite track on the album but I like it nonetheless.

The Great Unravelling

The pace remains slow on the final track, though it has a slightly more rocky feel to it. Elisabeth gets to sing alone, almost as a duet with Fish in parts. It ends with these words “One day I have to say goodbye / I know that I will have to leave and give up to the light / Into the light” which is a fine way to draw the curtain down on what has to be described as an epic album. 

I own all of Fish’s studio albums and for me this is probably his most complete collection of songs.  I love ‘All Loved Up’, and the High Wood suite makes for great listening start to finish.  ‘Perfume River’ is a song of real beauty and passion while the title track is also one I would return to.  Don’t let your prejudices get the better of you, listen to this with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised.  If you are a Fish fan already, then this is a must have and if you can spare the pennies why not invest in a deluxe copy.  Again you won’t be disappointed.

 

Ian Anderson

 

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7 September, 2013 - Posted by | ChartChat

4 Comments »

  1. We seemed to be on the same wavelength 🙂

    Comment by smokefreekevin | 10 September, 2013 | Reply

  2. its a fantastic album i love it, it was worth waiting for 🙂

    Comment by Sara Tonkinson (@Saratonk) | 10 September, 2013 | Reply

  3. Absolute stunner of an album, can’t wait for my deluxe copy to arrive.

    Comment by Larry Barton | 11 September, 2013 | Reply

  4. The past decade I pretty much lost track of Fish. The post really got me psyched to hear the new release. Thanks.

    Comment by Rick | 11 September, 2013 | Reply


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