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Fish - Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors CD (album) cover





3.87 | 386 ratings

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4 stars Fish's solo debut came at the time my Marillionism was fading. Seasons End by Marillion with the new singer was a lame experience, and also the earlier Marillion albums were losing their grip (only Clutching at Straws always remained as one of my most played LP's). From Fish I wasn't expecting very progressive material, knowing that he's a strong lyricist, not a composer, and as a singer he wants to dominate the music. A lot would depend on his collaborators. The key character here is the keyboardist Mickey Simmonds to whom most of the composition credits go. He and the chemistry of the whole group - including musicians who had played in Dire Straits (Hal Lindes) and Simple Minds - proved to be very succesful. Vigil was like a breath of fresh air, a nice combination of pop and lite-prog, and it still sounds better than many of its followers in Fish discography.

I concentrate on the 8-track original LP version ('The Voyeur' wasn't included). First, none of the tracks is weak. My least favourite is the catchy, big-sounded 'Big Wedge' which is nevertheless pretty effective in its (hit) genre. The long title track has the proggiest musical drama, starting and ending quietly and bursting into full steam in between. 'State of Mind' was another single; relatively simple song with nice bass playing. Also very tender 'Gentleman's Excuse Me' was released as a single. It's nearly *too* sweet. 'Family Business' about domestic violence is very powerful song emotionally and includes excellent lead guitar. 'The Company' has an effective interlude of Scottish folk with fiddle and tin whistle. (And 'Vigil' has Uillean pipes.) The album ends with one of my favourite love songs, 'The Cliché'. In fact it sort of became an anthem of my first love (she shared my proggy music taste).

If I should find something negative, I could say the album is a bit poppy, pathetic and over-produced, but it's actually another way of saying it's a strong work and easily enjoyed. I believe that to many fans this remains dearer than other Fish albums.

Matti | 4/5 |


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