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Strangefish - Fortune Telling CD (album) cover





3.85 | 63 ratings

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5 stars I went out of my way to secure this judiciously reviewed album by Strangefish on our site , as well as a positive write-up in the French Canadian prog magazine Terra Incognita. The beguiling comments were unanimous in their praise for this much maligned sub-genre , which deserves a little more respect, for if it wasn't for Marillion back in the early 80s , there would be a much smaller and less rabid prog scene today, certainly, no more than rehashing reminiscences of the bygone glory of progressive rock. Neo is capable of delivering some excellent groups and stupendous recordings, especially when they search to distance themselves from cloning past successes and formulas. Well, these british lads most assuredly offer up a different recipe , both similar and distant to the neo ruling class (IQ, Arena, Galahad, Tantalus, Big Big Train, Knight Area, Pendragon etc.) . Firstly, excellent vocalist Steve Taylor doesn't attempt a Fish-Gabriel (which is why they named themselves Strangefish?) , owning a distinctive style that shines through most eloquently on all the tracks presented here. My colleague Sinkadotree , correctly compared Taylor's voice to Sylvan's powerful singer Marco Glühmann on his review of Strangefish's debut disc, and this is most crucial as vocals are our genre's Achilles heel and only rarely do we get good , dare I say intelligent lyrics to add to the mix. Great story line, highly contemporary and a tinge sarcastic (I love sarcasm, it's oh so British!), the songs fit well within an instrumental palette that seeks a little originality within the strict confines of the genre. Bob (I hope his discreet last name isn't Loblaw! Ha, ha, ha!) is a splendid guitarist, skillfully remote from the usual Hackettisms, thanks to a more level sounding attack, that will include whimsical Mark Knopfler-like picking , giving out an almost Traffic (The Low Spark" era) on "Ignorance of Bliss" a scintillating piece of classic prog. Bob also knows how to search and destroy, blazing a few scorching leads along the way. What a find, last name not withstanding! Keyboardist O'Neill paints the canvas , deftly combining sparkling synth leads, colored piano tinklings and rousing organ runs. Bassist Julian Gregory is a true revelation, playing a wicked violin, mandolin and viola, backing up his simple, yet precise bass patterns. Drummer Whittaker is not asked to Brufordize and he doesn't, keeping everything tight and edgy. I am really stunned at the sheer quality of this offering, especially the last half which is fabulously expressed, great stuff that deserves applause and recognition. The jig closes out with bombastic élan , an appropriate finale for a lusciously moody, well-crafted musical story that is most worthy of our respect . Fiver.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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