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Strangefish - Fortune Telling CD (album) cover





3.85 | 63 ratings

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4 stars Fortune Telling is the second album from British group Strangefish, a concept album about a normal person that goes through a dream winning the lottery and living the playboy lifestyle.

I bought this album after seeing the band perform live at the Summers End festival. I had never heard the band before but I was mightily impressed with their performance and so bought this album straight away. I'm glad I did because the impressive ability of this group comes through in a very clear and powerful way.

The concept of the album, primarily concerned with the effects of gaining prodigious wealth, is very strong and communicated in a clear and intelligent way without making it feel like your being spoon fed the story. The singer, Steve Taylor, delivers his vocals in strong, clear voice that marks him out as a very good singer that delivers with a slight theatrical edge, something I feel suites Strangefish' music very well.

Julian Gregory and Dave Whittaker prove to be a strong rhythm section here. Gregory's bass lines, though hardly lightning fast, are delivered with precision and with a certain dynamic flair that makes them stand out here on the album in a way that works very well. Whittaker doesn't appear to be an amazing drummer but his drumming works to fill the job required and augment the bass line to create a stable and flowing rhythm section. Gregory also plays the violin, mandolin and viola on this album and, though the latter 2 don't seem to be that prominent, his use of the violin on the final track, Lighthouse Jig, is very impressive and is a stand out performance.

Guitarist Bob (just Bob, apparently) and keyboard player Paul O'Neill both give strong performances that seem more intent on help to create and/or augment an atmosphere than show off their definite technical ability. I've found here that they have a habit of making rather nice riffs that do tend to stay with the listener after you've moved on to something else, certainly a talent to be applauded. However, on one or two occasions, their parts can just stray the wrong side of cheesy for small moments that may not appeal to all.

Of the songs, they almost all seem to be strong compositions with numerous strengths and avoid any unnecessary repetition, each creating a specific mood to reflect the concept. My personal favourites on this album are the opening track Happy As I Am? and Ignorance Of Bliss as well as the bonus track, and album closer, Lighthouse Jig, which is a strange folk influence song that makes me think of Ireland due to the use of the violin and mandolin. To be honest, I don't think there is a weak song on this album.

So, if I like this album so much, why not the full 5 stars? Well, as good as it is, I just cant shake off the occasional feeling that the music is a little clichéd at times and that does detract from it slightly. However, it is a very good album and well worth getting hold of.

P.S. If anyone gets the chance to see them live, do so, they are most definitely a band that know how to have fun, and do so by bringing along the inflatable beach toys with them!

sleeper | 4/5 |


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