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

FISH OUT OF WATER

Chris Squire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 294 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "Great basslines in search of riffs" is the greatest description of this album I've ever come across, and I must say I agree with that assessment. Chris Squire's first and only solo album is usually regarded as the best of the many, many Yes-related solo albums, but if that was the case I'm not sure I'd have been hungry for more (so far that title belongs to Criminal Record). The raw materials are in place - good vocals (Chris manages to sound like a cross between himself, Jon Anderson and Trevor Horn on this album), the expected killer basslines, decent guitar (from Chris, of course), appearances by Bruford and Moraz - but it doesn't all quite come together.

The album consists of but five tracks, two of which are lengthy behemoths and three of which are shorter length, normal numbers. Now, I love Yes' lengthy epics as much as anybody, but these suggest pretty strongly that, er, Chris wasn't the driving creative force behind stuff like "Gates" and "CTTE." "Silently Falling" does feature a bizarre Moraz passage in the middle, but beside that it seems the band is jamming mindlessly with no desire but to show off chops (with the exception of some actual emotion coming out of the piece over the last third of the piece, as Moraz lays the foundation with some pretty piano, while Chris' vocals really provide the feel of slowly falling to the ground). You know, the sort of thing that people routinely accuse Yes of doing but that they never actually did. Go on, take a listen to this album and you'll have better idea of what mindless noodling REALLY sounds like.

As for the closing "Canon Song," I know that lots of Yesfans love it, but I just can't figure out the greatness of this one. It's not even just lack of "catchiness" - I mean, a good prog epic can, under the right circumstances, overcome a lack of directly catchy themes - but there's just not really any sense to the whole thing. It's pleasant background music, but there's no real sense of build or waxing/waning of intensity and themes or any of those pleasant tricks Yes used to hook in the listener. It just keeps going and going for 15 minutes, and loses my attention in a way that "The Revealing Science of God" never ever could. Bleh.

Now the shorter songs, that's a different matter entirely. The opening duo of "Hold Out Your Hand" and "You By My Side" are catchy and compact *gasp* pop songs, each punctuated with the expected killer basslines and well-conceived keyboard and drum parts (not to mention appropriate doses of orchestration, which pop up occasionally throughout the album). The latter in particular might give a hardcore "pop sucks prog rules" fan a heart attack, but the wonderful, swaying piano-driven melody would have fit in well on The Yes Album and not changed the quality of that album one iota.

I also find the side-two opener, "Lucky Seven," quite enjoyable. It has a bit of a jazz/funk (!!) feel to it, courtesy of a slightly off-kilter keyboard riff that Chris delights in playing off of (not to mention Bruford's mastery, of course). Naturally, of course, it would have sounded completely out of place on any given Yes album, as saxophones and other elements of "sleaze" hardly fit in with what fans expected out of the band. Here, though, it only adds a slice of "down-to-earth" feeling to help prop up the listener's ears between the two epics.

Alas, though, with the epics taking up 60% of the album and only being intermittently entertaining, it's hard not to be somewhat harsh on the album as a whole. But still, I'd hate to remain a Yes-fan who hasn't, at some point, partaken of the vast entertainment that comes from the three good songs on here.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |

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