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Fish - Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors CD (album) cover





3.82 | 322 ratings

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4 stars UUUggghh . having reviewed all Marillion Fish era studio albums, I think it's time for me to give a shot on Fish solo. Let me first tell you: the ultimate and best music was only produced when Fish with Marillion - it's all masterpiece albums! And this is Fish' first solo that I consider excellent but not a masterpiece. Why? Not all of tracks are excellent musically and lyric-wise. Fish demonstrates his capability as songwriter and singer (as with Marillion he contributed mostly as lyricist). He's done excellent job with his debut album. Well, later I realized when I read the "Separated Out" book on Marillion, actually some songs in this album was proposed by Fish to the rest of Marillion members during their tour activities. I've seen there is a photographed of a whiteboard where "Family Business" and "The Company" were written at the board. Reaction from the rest of the band: rejected. Uuughh!!! What a lousy decision it was as later I realized that these two are masterpiece tracks!!

The album is opened with an album title track: "Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors" which brilliantly located as an opening track to set the overall mood of the album. For me, the first lyric of this track reminds me to the occasion when I first listened to "So here I am once more .!!" of Marillion's debut album "Script for a Jester's Tear". This time, Fish sigh voice says like this "Listen to me / Just hear me out / If I could have your attention .." Uuughhhh .. what a great opening!! (having been so longing for Fish voice after La Gazza Ladra live album release of Marillion). Yeah .. this track really BLEW me mannnnn!!! This track is a ballad music but with interesting high and low tones. It's thematic though as I can feel it when the voice is "I don't know the score anymore / It's not clear anymore / I can't tell right from wrong anymore / I just don't understand". After that there are elements of Marillion as well as P Floyd (The Wall album). Fish' vocal quality is excellent, it's exactly like the way he sung with Marillion. The interesting part of this track is the interlude (minute 4:3) with keyboard solo that sounds like a middle east music. Tasty and memorable melody!

"Big Wedge" is not my cup of tea. I dunno why, just don't really get it. It fails to shoot my heart, it's just a flat upbeat music with some brass section. It sounds like Phil Collins solo album or Genesis with brass section. Some Fish fans like this song; but it's not the case for me. It's boring. "State of Mind" is Fish's yell on social life. It's opened with great bass line in the vein of JACO Pastorius (of Weather Report) and some howling guitar sound at background. The acoustic guitar is also interesting.

One of my favorites is "The Company". It has a very unique composition, blending the country music with traditional (Scott?) and rock/pop. One thing that shot me the first time I listened to this song was the lyrics. This song is suitable for those who work to someone or we simply call it "worker". Observe this lyric: "You buy me a drink then you think that you've got the right / To crawl in my head and rifle my soul / You tell me I'm free then you want me to compromise / To sell out my dreams you say you'll make it worthwhile" what a nice piece of lyric and music segment!!!! And, most importantly about this track are: melodious and fascinating! It's a masterpiece. "The company I choose is solidly singular / Totally trustworthy, straight and sincere / Polished, experienced, witty and charming / So why don't you push off, this company's my own".

"A Gentleman's Excuse Me" is a drum-less track with touchy melody and great lyrics. The piano play and orchestration is really nice. Most people like this track. "The Voyeur (I Like to Watch)" is an upbeat music with good guitar and bass. I don't really enjoy this song - it sounds boring to me even though Fish vocal is clear and the musicianship is also good. But the next track "Family Business" really BLEW my mind! This is a kind of fabulous music that I've ever heard - it has great melody since opening till the end of the track. The music is relatively simple with some touch of early Marillion music. It's a great regret that the rest of Marillion members declined this track when Fish proposed for next Marillion album (that never happened). Through this song I realized that Fish can create such Marillionish music!!! I like the ambient kind of music created throughout this track combined with Hackett-like guitar playing. "How long do we keep it family business ..?" Uuughh .. What a great closing!

Another track that blew my mind is "Cliché". It's a cliché love story but it's packaged in such a way that this is not a typical pop song music. The strong point is in its melody and songwriting. Wonderfully crafted!!! It's opened with melodious keyboard sound with some soft guitar fills; followed by short piano sound to welcome Fish voice "I've got a reputation of being a man with a gift of words ." - really cool man!! When the music enters into its main body, it flows smoothly and melodiously especially with the inclusion of electric guitar that howls in the vein of Hackett style. Don't miss the piano touch that occur in some segments, it accentuates the song, really! "It's not that I'm embarrassed or shy, well, you know me too well ..." .... nice shot, Fish!

Overall, it's an excellent album. The songwriting and musicianship are great. In addition, almost all lyrics are excellent. RECOMMENDED! Don't miss this album! Rating: 4.25 / 5. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |


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