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


Chris Squire


Symphonic Prog

4.00 | 492 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars CHRIS SQUIRE (1948-2015) is of course best-known as the legendary bassist with YES, appearing on all twenty-one YES studio albums, from their first self-titled album in 1969 right through to the final YES album "Heaven & Earth" in 2014, just a year before his tragic death from leukemia at the age of 67. His unique and aggressive style of bass playing was a major part of what gave YES such a distinctive sound. This album "Fish Out of Water" (1975) was the first of two Chris Squire solo projects, with his second solo album "Chris Squire's Swiss Choir" (2007), a Christmas album, following 32 years later. He also collaborated with Steve Hackett of Genesis to record the album "A Life Within a Day" (2012) under the cunningly-titled name "Squackett". The "Fish Out of Water" album was recorded at a time when all of the YES musicians were taking a long hiatus from the band to record a solo album after the trials and tribulations of recording the YES "Relayer" album. Chris Squire's first solo album featured an impressive line-up of musicians from the world of prog, including:- Bill Bruford on drums; Mel Collins on saxophones; and Patrick Moraz on synthesisers. The album also featured an orchestra, conducted by Chris Squire's old bandmate from The Syn, Andrew Price Jackman. Let's dive in now and have a listen to the album.

Chris Squire makes a big splash with "Hold Out Your Hand", which is very much in the mould of classic Yessongs, with Squire's vocals sounding remarkably like Jon Anderson. The sound of Chris Squire's bass is very much at the forefront, giving the music the distinctive YES sound that we've come to know and love over the years. This music has all of the dynamic power and glory that we've come to expect from YES, with the sound of Barry Rose's pompous pipe organ adding a rich fullness to the sound. Chris Squire might feel like a "Fish Out of Water with his first solo album, but we're in very familiar YES territory with this opening song. There's a lovely message about the wonders of nature and the universe around us contained within the lyrics:- "All you've got to do is, Hold out your hand, For the treasures of the universe, Are lying at your feet." ..... I think we can all hold out our hands and give Chris a big round of applause for "Hold Out Your Hand" because this is a superb opening number. The next song "You By My Side" is a BIG romantic piano number with full orchestration and featuring a tremendous hook-line, so be prepared to be swept away on a passionate wave of emotion. The powerful music really tugs at the heart- strings with these heart-warming lyrics:- "You know I love you, we can't be without you, When I'm alone, I still feel this way about you." ..... This sumptuous grand piano and orchestra piece is positively overflowing with emotion and it's enough to make you feel all dewy-eyed and sentimental, so keep a hanky at the ready. We're "Silently Falling" now for Song No. 3, which opens to the sound of a flamboyant flute. This is one of two big epic numbers on the album, and with a running time of over 11 minutes, there's plenty of time for some keyboard wizardry from Patrick Moraz with the marvellous sound of Chris Squire's sonorous bass and Bill Bruford's pounding drums carrying the song along in true YES tradition. It's majestic and magnificent. This is uplifting and unrestrained grand Symphonic Prog which is sure to delight fans of the sonorous full-toned sound of YES.

Do you feel lucky, because "Lucky Seven" is the opening song on Side Two. It's a Jazzy saxophone number in complex 7/8 time that sounds like it could have been a missing King Crimson song, which is probably not too surprising considering Mel Collins and Bill Bruford have both been members of Robert Fripp's King Crimson ensemble at various times. This is a funky fusion of sassy and sophisticated Jazz-Rock given the heavy bass treatment by Mr Chis Squire, esquire. And now we come to the grand symphonic epic "Safe (Canon Song), to close out the album. It's a 15-minute masterpiece featuring the full works, including a floating flute, sensational saxophone, booming bass, dynamic drumming, and with a full orchestra bringing this outstanding piece of music to a dramatic conclusion in glorious pomp and symphonic splendour.

Chris Squire's first solo album features the oh-so-familiar heavy bass sound of YES, combined with sumptuous vocals, keyboard wizardry, and sophisticated saxophones in abundance. "Fish Out of Water" is sure to delight fans of the classic YES sound, as this album sounds very much like an undiscovered YES album treasure. There's enough dramatic chord progressions and tricky time signature changes contained within this album to keep any Progressive Rock fan happy. It's an album full of romantic refrains, jaunty Jazz, mellifluous melodies and scintillating symphonies, but it's ALWAYS consistently great music.

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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