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Fish - Raingods With Zippos CD (album) cover

RAINGODS WITH ZIPPOS

Fish

 

Neo-Prog

3.71 | 161 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 1999 saw the coming of a new Fish album, this album would feature his only true epic piece and it would ultimately be his last epic piece. Anyway, this album features some great poppier numbers as well as the progressive beast of Plague of Ghosts. Fish is at his usual best lyrically, and his voice never sounded better on this one. The rest of his band, essentially the same lineup as Sunsets on Empire, except Frank Usher is suspiciously absent from this project, plays wonderfully on this album offering up a very modern sound and a very fun sound to listen to. I must say now that this one of Fish's best albums, and I think you may enjoy it, too.

The album opens with Tumbledown, with gentle and very melodic piano as a main piano motif is introduced, one can't be helped but feel moved by the fantastic piano performance. Around the 1:30 mark a new motif is introduced, this one being a heavier and very guitar driven riff. A great opener to the album with a strong chorus. The main lyrical theme of 'Raingods With Zippos' is also heard first on this song. This theme will also show up in Plague of Ghosts. Mission Statement is one of the weaker songs on the album, it has this very swingy feel and it doesn't really go anywhere. It's a good song, mind you, just not great. Incomplete is a gentle ballad that features some touching duet vocals between Fish and guest female vocalist Elisabeth Antwi. It's a very pretty song about how no one is ever complete and how we always want more, but the depressing and very sad feel of the song will captivate you more than the lyrics itself.

Tilted Cross is another ballad of sorts, with a touching duet similar to that on Incomplete. Other than that, it's probably the weakest song on the album. Faith Healer is a cover of a Sensational Alex Harvey Band song that Fish used to feature in his sets back in the Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors days. It has this rocky feel and a very consistent a fun riff, with some fun guitars in the vein of some glam rock band from the 70's. Rites of Passage acts as the perfect prelude to the epic. It's a gentle piece that goes through many different emotions within the 7 minutes that it is. It has this ethereal feel to it, with sparse guitars and mainly lush synth textures taking the forefront. It's one of the best pieces on the album, with emotional vocals from Fish as well as some melodic violins to give the song a more moody edge. The piano outro is also beautifully crafted and very well played.

Plague of Ghosts is a behemoth 25 minute epic (although indexed into individual parts on the album itself) that makes up for the last part of the album. As expected with any epic in progressive rock, this song goes through many different moods and feels. Old Haunts is a (pardon the pun) a haunting instrumental section with some very atmospheric vocals from Fish that gives way into Digging Deep. Digging Deep is a strong piece that has a great groove to it and an infectious chorus that will have even the most skeptical person singing to it. Chocolate Frogs (the name that would become Fish's record company after Dick Bros.), is an atmospheric piece with a spoken narrative from Fish in the intro. This keyboard only piece with some mixed samples and noises in the back in augmented well with some effective vocals from Fish. Waving at Stars continues this atmospheric feel with some very electronic sounding drums and some hammered out acoustic guitar chords. The bass on this part is very prevalent, offering a solid groove to keep the rest of the band in time. Raingods Dancing brings back the Raingods with Zippos lyrical motif. It also has this interesting ascending piano theme that is very memorable. The chorus is catchy and the band keeps a tight groove. Wake-Up Call (Make it Happen) is the conclusion to this stunning epic. It has this epic and infectious outro that really ends the song well and creates a perfect atmosphere for a closing piece.

In the end, this album is very strong. It has very strong pop pieces, but the epic is where the album gets really cooking. I think any fan of Marillion will like this album, as it shows that Fish doesn't need Marillion to create engaging and exciting music. If you are a Fish fan, you own this album. But for the rest of you who don't have this album, this is some wonderful Neo Prog that I think everyone can enjoy. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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