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Strangefish - Full Scale CD (album) cover

FULL SCALE

Strangefish

Neo-Prog


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5 stars A fantastic debut album.

If you are into bands like It Bites!, YES, Marillion, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings and all other bands in this genre, then this album is definitely for you!

I have had this album since it's release in November 2003 and it is the most listened to CD in my collection since that time.

From start to finish this album drags you in, the musicianship is superb.

Strangefish are one of the best new UK acts of recent years.

Report this review (#28205)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have only recently acquired this promising debut from Strangefish, and I've been hooked. They probably sound most similar to Genesis, but they also have traces of Yes, Marillion, and IQ in their music. If you like upbeat symphonic rock/neo-prog, then I strongly suggest trying this album out. It is one of the many hidden gems in progressive rock.

"Shifting Sands and Turning Tides" is the first song, and it is an great way to kick off the album. Beautiful keyboard and guitar work in the song, much like the rest of this album. I particularly like the faster, upbeat portions of the song which remind me of Spock's Beard. One of my favorite songs on Full Scale! "Oceans Deep" starts off slow and a bit dull, but after around 3 minutes when the keyboards begin to kick in, this is an awesome song! The next song, "Listening to Ghosts" starts off as almost a pure pop song with some slight prog influence thrown in, but eventually transcends into a full prog song. Really catchy, optimistic music with amazing vocals! Tied with the first song for my favorite of the album. "Take a Holiday" is a short (4:39) song that I really enjoy because of how extremely cheery and upbeat it is. Next we have "At First Sight" which begins slow, but evolves into a nice song with a super-catchy riff. Begining to catch a trend? "Touch Sensitive" is a pretty good song that I'm not too fond of. It's similar to the rest of the album musically, but in my opinion it lacks the excitement of other songs. "Wallflower" is a nice song focused more on guitars rather than the keyboards. The album ends with "Simple Life," a calm song and a pretty good way to end this album. I think this is better than the previous two songs, but not as good as the beginning of the album.

3.5/5 stars. Nice addition to any prog music collection, especially Neo fans.

Although a good album overall, it certainly has its low points. Firstly, the softer sections of the album are a little boring and repetitive. Secondly, the last three songs really weren't as enjoyable as the previous songs.

While it's not the most original album, it still has some nice moments reminiscent to the great stuff of the '70s. Recommended to all fans of symphonic prog, especially those of Genesis. I am really looking forward to their next album!

Report this review (#63933)
Posted Monday, January 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Very interesting debut album from Strangefish. Contrary to some reviewer I found this band to be quite original, it's hard to label it. Even its influences are hard to tell, except for some Yes undertones here and there (instrumental parts only, and even then they are not very so obvious). Unlike most prog records this album is very much guitar driven, the keyboards take kind of a back seat most of the time, although not always. The guitar player (here credit only as "Bob") is truly brilliant, but the band does not fall behind him, they are all fine musicians. Singer Steve Taylor is quite good, does not try to emulate Jon Anderson like so many lead vocalists do in prog, and shows a great deal of originality without sacrifying melody and song structure. The album might take some time to sink in but it is well worth it.

If you're looking for something adventurous, but can't stand those experimental noises and|or don't like too much dissonant harmonies this might interest you. At least something different from the average prog record that does not sound neither too mellow nor too much spaced out. I'm looking forward to hear their next CD. Highly recommed!

Report this review (#95493)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This came highly recommended to me but I had to wait for it as they sold out their first pressing. My first impressions were not that favourable as keyboard led Neo Prog isn't at the top of my list. To be fair though I wasn't giving the music my full attention. Well after repeated listens these guys have won me over.The synths are great and the guitarist can flat out play.The vocalist has this uncanny resemblance to Marco from SYLVAN which is a plus as I really like his vocals. The songs themselves have some thoughtful lyrics with a lot of humour.

"Shifting Sands And Turning Tides" features some good synth work, piano and vocals. Mood shifts abound and check out the guitar playing after 6 minutes as he goes on a bit of a tear. "Oceans Deep" again brings to mind that these guys are the UK version of SYLVAN. I prefer the mellow passages on this song especially the synths. "Listening To Ghosts" has some excellent guitar as he really lets it rip.This is such a catchy tune. Spacey synths to end it. "Take A Holiday" is a very uptempo, fun song, including a funny Carribean section, as well as the sound of an ice cube dropping into a glass.

"At First Sight" is mellow for the most part with tempo changes galore. Drums dominate 5 minutes in. Some nice guitar work, as he plays the same melody over and over, but higher up the scales each time. "Touch Sensitive" is my favourite song on this record. It's quite heavy and the soaring guitar 4 minutes in is so beautiful as a vocal melody comes in.The soundscape to follow is fantastic. "Wallflower" could have been released as a single. The drumming is fabulous to open. The chorus is great with back ground synths. "Simple Life" has some good bass and synths early. There is a jazzy sound 4 minutes in. He's so exhuberant when he shouts "The sun's still in the sky !" Uplifting guitar to follow. Nice.

If you are a fan of SYLVAN I know you'll love this cd, but any fan of the Neo genre needs to check this out.

Report this review (#118614)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another very good modern band,who strangely decided to call it off after releasing two great albums,despite waiting for over 10 years for the release of their debut.STRANGEFISH had been around since 1989,located in the city of Manchester and gained some wide recognition with their four-track demo ''Reeled in''.Finally the new millenium found STRANGEFISH on the road of a wider recognition with the private pressing of their debut ''Full scale''.

The album heads mainly to fans of mid-era GENESIS as well as fans of MARILLION,but note that STRANGEFISH have their own and unique style of playing,far from pathetic clones of the afore-mentioned bands.Additionally ''Full scale'' contains some rocking moments with nice groves and up-lifting tempos.The compositions are mainly long with good balance between vocal and instrumental parts and feature the strong vocal performance of Steve Taylor.Keyboards ,played by Paul O'Neil, are very much in the vein of TONY BANKS with leading passages and magnificent harmonic solos,while guitarist - hidden under the name- Bob delivers a few good breaks and more STEVE ROTHERY-like soloing.This was one of the most pleasant releases ,regarding 2004, with both modern and retro elements and reaching this album would be the kindest farewell to STRANGEFISH'es contribution to progressive rock.Strongly recommended!

Report this review (#151013)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Strangefish has been a nice surprise to me as I have grown tired of listening to one generic neo prog band after another. My latest discovery Shadowland was no exception. Strangefish defies the boundaries of neo prog and incorporates elements from other genres to make a fresh approach. Neo prog with hard rock/ Soft metal elements wouldn´t be and unfair description of the music on Full Scale.

Especially singer Steve Taylor sets Strangefish apart from other bands in this genre. First of all because he has a strong and distinct voice which he uses in various ways. He can sing both hard rock and more mellow vocal styles and even more theatrical progressive vocal parts. What a great singer. The lyrics are pretty weak though.

The music is influenced by Marillion, Genesis, UK and others in the symphonic genre but with a hard rock edge. Songs like Ocean Deep and Wallflower are pretty fantastic in my book while the silly Take a Holiday could have been ommited for my sake.

The conclusion is that Full Scale is an above average neo prog album not fully deserving the 4 stars but on the other hand too good for only 3 stars, so this is a small 4 star rating. Very recommendable though.

NOTE: I have downgraded this album after some consideration. 3 big stars instead of 4 small ones.

Report this review (#159947)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4,5 stars !!! STRANGEFISH is a band which I lament their absence after 2 brilliant albums (his second and last album, until now, was release 8 years ago) ! This "Full Scale" is really full... full of different styles hard/heavy/symphonic and more... plenty complex, with lots o riffs in the hard and heavy moments ... very enchant guitar melodies insinuating symphonic prog. They produces a sound influenced by so conflicting styles, bringing to me reminiscences of DEEP PURPLE, YES, GENESIS, ECHOLYN ! Is enough to understand how they walks between so different styles listen track 4 "Take A Holiday"... their main theme recalls Deep Purple but in the middle section ( about 2 min ) a calypso or merengue theme make a break in the frenetic rhythm. The album is very close to perfection and , only by make mention my favorite tracks are: track 1 "Shifting Sands And Turning Tides" , track 3 " Listening To Ghosts " and track 5 "At First Sight"! My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#1771561)
Posted Monday, August 14, 2017 | Review Permalink

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