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Chris Squire - Fish Out Of Water CD (album) cover


Chris Squire


Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 400 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars No doubt about it - this is by far the best solo album ever by a member of Yes, and one of the milestones of symphonic prog, every bit as good as anything Yes did in their 35-year-plus careeer. With a lineup of musicians to die for, and Chris Squire's inimitable, ground-breaking bass playing skills, "Fish Out of Water" is a nearly-perfect record which deserves much more than the cult status it has enjoyed since it first came out.

Though a lot of criticism has been aimed at Squire's vocals, I personally find them no less valid than Jon Anderson's - maybe less angelic and more down-to-earth, understated but solid throughout. Anyway, this is not the kind of album you listen to looking for vocal prowess - the presence of a more assertive singer would have detracted from the musical brilliance of the instrumental parts, a real feast for lovers of vintage prog.

"Fish Out of Water" strikes the right balance between melody and complexity, its compositions tightly structured yet leaving room for the musicians to let rip and show their chops. Even if solo albums are often seen as vanity projects, there is very little self-indulgence here. While Chris's awesome bass playing does take centre stage, as it is to be expected, it is never to the detriment of the other instruments. Listening to this album, you get the impression of a unit working together towards a goal, not of a motley crew of gifted musicians left to their own devices. What is even more important, the five songs on it get top marks on a compositional level, and work together to form a harmonious whole - unlike what all too often happens in the case of many modern bands or artists (no names here, but I have a few ideas in mind...).

The two initial tracks, "Hold Out Your Hand" and "You By My Side", are excellent examples of accessible, melodic prog, enriched by the backing orchestration and lavish vocal harmonies, as well as Patrick Moraz's solemn church organ. However, the album really comes into its own with the remaining three tracks, easily numbered. amongst the masterpieces of Seventies progressive rock. "Silently Falling" is 11 minutes of musical ecstasy, alternating between the monstrously intricate interplay of Squire and Bruford's state-of-the-art rhythm section with the other musicians, and the rarefied, melancholy moods of the refrain. The following "Lucky Seven", featuring Mel Collins' contribution on sax, is probably the most adventurous track on the album, based on a sort of funky groove that shows a different side to Squire's playing, and definitely reaching out into jazz-rock territory. The record closes with another symphonic masterpiece, the 14-minute-plus "Safe (Canon Song)", where the orchestra acts on occasion as Chris's sparring partner, leading the way to a sumptuous, majestic finale.

A richly satisfying experience, musically impeccable but at the same time warm and accessible, and certainly no mere exercise in technical brilliance, Fish Out of Water is essential listening for anyone who claims an interest in prog, especially of the symphonic variety.

This review is dedicated to someone who loves this album to bits, and plays a beautiful Rickenbacker bass just like Chris Squire does...

Raff | 5/5 |


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