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

VIGIL IN A WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS

Fish

 

Neo-Prog

3.80 | 260 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A fish out of water?

Fish's first solo album, released in 1990 is in many ways a predictable affair. The big man sings his heart out, offering little space to his selected fellow musicians as he offers his often acerbic views on subjects close to his heart. The album would perhaps have benefited from more and lengthier instrumental passages, to provide a counterpoint for Fish's singing. This in itself however presents a quandary for Fish, as had he done so, he would of course have been accused of making another Marillion album. The atmospheric start to the opening track "Vigil" suggests this may be a clone of "Misplaced childhood" but the pace soon increases with Fish allowing only a bagpipe (like?) sound to interrupt his dominant vocal.

Fish's cynicism is always to the fore, with lyrics such as "We sell our souls for the Big Wedge", ("Big Wedge"), and "I didn't trust the government" ("State of mind"). The "Vigil in a wilderness of mirrors" line is also repeated on the latter. Personally, I find the lyrics to be something of a distraction at times, such is their power, which is a pity as the album has many fine moments. Some of the themes covered by the album are quite disturbing, especially tracks such as "Family business", which deals with wife beating. While the lyrics here are extremely moving, the song as a song is dull. Fish is perhaps guilty at times of placing too much emphasis on the message, and too little on the overall product. At times here he appears to be preaching.

Musically, the melodies are often strong. "A gentleman's excuse me" for example is a soft orchestrated ballad, and "Cliché" has some excellent, if all too brief, Rothery- esque guitar. Had Fish stayed with Marillion, and the song been developed by the band, they could well have had one of their finest albums to date. That said, most of the songs here are co-written by Fish and others, and I would not wish to belittle the contribution of Fish's fellow writers.

Overall, an enjoyable album which suffers from a common problem with solo albums by lead singers, they don't know when to shut up!

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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