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Fish - Sunsets On Empire CD (album) cover

SUNSETS ON EMPIRE

Fish

 

Neo-Prog

3.81 | 168 ratings

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Warthur
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The first few years of Fish's solo career were turbulent ones. His debut album was reasonably well-received, although I'm personally inclined to say that was more down to people being relieved it wasn't flat-out awful as opposed to a consequence of it actually being particularly good; either way, his next few albums were even less interesting, and in setting up his own record company he ended up flooding the market with numerous interchangeable live albums to confuse things even more.

Despite not being much of a commercial success at the time, artistically Sunsets On Empire is where things started to go right again. Teaming up with a top-notch musical partner in the form of Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson was an absolute genius move, because Wilson is able to craft a sound for Fish which hits precisely the combination of progressive leanings and crossover appeal that Fish had always seemed to strive for but hadn't quite managed to get right up to this point. Add this to Fish penning the most intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics of his solo career to date and bringing to the table an excellent vocal performance which for the first time since Clutching At Straws convinced me that he really believed in the ideas and emotions he was conveying, and you have one hell of an album.

In fact, I'd argue that the piece is a milestone both in Fish's solo career and in the overall progression of Steven Wilson's music - after this, Porcupine Tree would take an indie rock-influenced song-oriented approach for a couple of albums, which seems in part to be an application of the ideas developed here to the PT sound. In short, it's the coming together of two of the most important figures in British prog - one who helped revive the scene in the 1980s, and one who reinvented it from the 1990s onwards - and the more I listen to it, the more I'm convinced it's a full-on classic. "Can we say it's all worked out, it's all OK?" asks Fish on the gorgeous and minimalistic closer Say It With Flowers, and yes, Fish, this time around it's worked out fine.

Warthur | 5/5 |

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