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

FISH OUT OF WATER

Chris Squire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 427 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Let me have a guess why you're here. You love Yes, but you've already heard all the good albums and you are now tentatively looking into the 'Yes solo albums' period of '75-'76 to see if there's anything that can quench your symphonic thirst. The answer, of course, is YES. As you probably know, all the members of Yes released their own solo material to varying degrees of success, but in my opinion, Chris Squire's 'Fish Out Of Water' beats the lot. Although I don't know a lot about bass players, I can easily say that Chris Squire is my favourite bass player, as he uses his instrument in such a unique way which adds so much to the music. If any bass player was going to release a solo album, I'd want it to be him.

One particular aspect of solo albums I enjoy is the line-up of musicians. Usually on solo albums, the artist will either choose fellow bandmembers, or musicians from other groups. 'Fish Out Of Water' is particularly exciting! In addition to Bill Bruford (who was undoubtedly Yes's better drummer), Patrick Moraz from 'Relayer' returns to play the synthesizers here. Surprise guests include Canterbury-scene flautist Jimmy Hastings, who has frequently popped up in bands like Caravan, Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North, and Mel Collins, who is best known for appearing in the first batch of King Crimson albums and also was an integral part of Camel later on. With a full orchestra also on tap, this is a very exciting prospect.

The weakest point on this album is the opener Hold Out Your Hand which is short enough to be a pop song, and vaguely resembles one too. However, this track does a good job of introducing us to the albums sound. The most striking aspect of the music is Squire's voice. He is using the same voice as when he does backing vocals for Yes. This album really makes you appreciate Squire's overall contribution to the Yes sound. There are changing time signatures, but this track comes off as being too repetitive, and rather uncatchy. On the other hand, there is a good bass solo in the instrumental, and Bruford's drums sound just as crisp as they did on any Yes album. Squire's sister Nikki also lends a hand with the vocals here, but you can barely hear her. Not an awful song, but the album gets better from here on.

The first song segues straight into You By My Side, which is a beautiful pop ballad. The lyrics are quite weak, but nothing to complain about, as I still find myself singing along to this! There is a verse, a flute solo, another verse which is the same as the first but replaces 'I' with 'we', and then a symphonic outro which employs the orchestra. The flute solo is beautiful, and the orchestra are so moving, with Squire's bass giving depth to the piece.

Silently Falling is when the real prog really starts. This is an epic track which is bound to get your attention. Hastings' flute acts as wonderful decoration to the laid-back first verse. The centrepiece of the track is the 3 minute plus instrumental which is highly chaotic. This is Moraz's moment on the album, and he shows off his impressive skills just as he did on 'Relayer'. There is time for one final verse before the symphonic, melancholy outro. Chris Squire's pronunciation of the title to this track is rather bizarre. This is a really good track, and fans of Yes should have no problem enjoying this.

Looking up and down the reviews, a lot of people seem to be knocking Lucky Seven as dull and repetitive. While it's true that this track is repetitive, it is certainly not dull! This is a jazzier track played entirely in 7/8 (hence the title). This track would certainly be dull if the main riff wasn't so good. As far as time signatures go, I have to say 7/8 is my favourite, and I love tapping along to this track. This is the only track with Mel Collins so you should enjoy his saxophone while you can! If you want to convince someone that 7/8 can sound great, this track is for you.

The final track Safe is a staggering 15 minutes long, making this a real epic. I have to admit, writing a track this long was a good way to entice Yes fans or indeed any prog fans into buying this record. If you want to get yourself noticed in the prog world, you need to write a longer song! Fortunately, this track is also amazing the entire way through. This is essentially a 5 minute song with a 10 minute instrumental attached to the end. The song and the instrumental are linked by an instrumental within the first part, so the song feels entirely cohesive. The first part starts slow and gets more exciting. The instrumental that follows is extremely remarkable. The 'canon' is in fact an 11/8 riff that repeats for most of the 10 minutes of this instrumental. Although it repeats, this instrumental is hardly repetitive. The theme is played on many different orchestral instruments, with various levels of intensity in the background. It's difficult to explain just how intricate and riveting this track is, so I suggest you listen to it yourself. This is symphonic prog at it's finest.

While 'Fish Out Of Water' is a good play on words, and reflects the fact that Squire was performing outside of Yes, the title suggests that he is uncomfortable. The strength of the material on this record proves otherwise! This album is (dare I say it) as good as some of the Yes albums from that period, and should be considered a masterpiece. At times very dark, at other times beautiful, and overall very complex, 'Fish Out Of Water' is a must-have for fans of the symphonic side of prog.

baz91 | 5/5 |

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