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Strangefish Fortune Telling album cover
3.85 | 63 ratings | 10 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happy As I Am (8:49)
2. It Could Be Me (7:03)
3. Random (5:05)
4. 3 (1:18)
5. Keep The Exits Clear (6:32)
6. Have You Seen The Light? (5:52)
7. Lightswitch (0:38)
8. Ignorance Of Bliss (8:28)
9. Reflection This Is Me, Part I (7:03)
10. Reflection This Is Me, Part II (6:35)
11. Lighthouse Jig (7:39)

Total time 65:02

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Taylor / vocals
- Bob / guitars
- Paul O'Neill / keyboards, vocals
- Julian Gregory / bass, violin, viola, mandolin
- Dave Whittaker / drums, percussion

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

CD self-released (2006, UK)

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and to Quinino for the last updates
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STRANGEFISH Fortune Telling ratings distribution

(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

STRANGEFISH Fortune Telling reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This second album from the UK progrock formation Strangefish sounds fresh, dynamic and alternating with obvious hints from neo-prog bands like IQ and Pendragon but also lots of own, very original musical ideas: many shifting moods and a 'vintage Hammond organ sauce' like early Kansas in Happy As I am, beuatiful, very intense violin work in 360° and powerful rock with blistering electric guitar and Minimoog-like synthesizer flights in Have You Seen The Light. Their best composition on this CD is the instrumenal Lighthouse Jig: first a catchy rhythm featuring swirling violin play that ranges from early Kansas inspired to Irish folk-oriented and then, after a fiery guitar solo, the music builds to a compelling final part with great interplay between violin and guitar, to me this sounds as 'progheaven'!

I had never heard of this band but the first meeting has been a very pleasant one, Strangefish is a promising and entertaining prog band that delivers tasteful and elaborate compositions with lots of variety, from classical sounding violin to harder-edged guitar work or bombastic keyboards. Worth to discover neo-progheads!

Review by sleeper
4 stars Fortune Telling is the second album from British group Strangefish, a concept album about a normal person that goes through a dream winning the lottery and living the playboy lifestyle.

I bought this album after seeing the band perform live at the Summers End festival. I had never heard the band before but I was mightily impressed with their performance and so bought this album straight away. I'm glad I did because the impressive ability of this group comes through in a very clear and powerful way.

The concept of the album, primarily concerned with the effects of gaining prodigious wealth, is very strong and communicated in a clear and intelligent way without making it feel like your being spoon fed the story. The singer, Steve Taylor, delivers his vocals in strong, clear voice that marks him out as a very good singer that delivers with a slight theatrical edge, something I feel suites Strangefish' music very well.

Julian Gregory and Dave Whittaker prove to be a strong rhythm section here. Gregory's bass lines, though hardly lightning fast, are delivered with precision and with a certain dynamic flair that makes them stand out here on the album in a way that works very well. Whittaker doesn't appear to be an amazing drummer but his drumming works to fill the job required and augment the bass line to create a stable and flowing rhythm section. Gregory also plays the violin, mandolin and viola on this album and, though the latter 2 don't seem to be that prominent, his use of the violin on the final track, Lighthouse Jig, is very impressive and is a stand out performance.

Guitarist Bob (just Bob, apparently) and keyboard player Paul O'Neill both give strong performances that seem more intent on help to create and/or augment an atmosphere than show off their definite technical ability. I've found here that they have a habit of making rather nice riffs that do tend to stay with the listener after you've moved on to something else, certainly a talent to be applauded. However, on one or two occasions, their parts can just stray the wrong side of cheesy for small moments that may not appeal to all.

Of the songs, they almost all seem to be strong compositions with numerous strengths and avoid any unnecessary repetition, each creating a specific mood to reflect the concept. My personal favourites on this album are the opening track Happy As I Am? and Ignorance Of Bliss as well as the bonus track, and album closer, Lighthouse Jig, which is a strange folk influence song that makes me think of Ireland due to the use of the violin and mandolin. To be honest, I don't think there is a weak song on this album.

So, if I like this album so much, why not the full 5 stars? Well, as good as it is, I just cant shake off the occasional feeling that the music is a little clichéd at times and that does detract from it slightly. However, it is a very good album and well worth getting hold of.

P.S. If anyone gets the chance to see them live, do so, they are most definitely a band that know how to have fun, and do so by bringing along the inflatable beach toys with them!

Review by evenless
4 stars Fortune Telling was my first, and presently still my only, STRANGEFISH album. I must admit I really had to play this album quite a few times before I started to like it. At first STRANGEFISH' music made me reminisce of Marillion's - Fish era. You might even say: "What's in a name?!"

Coincidence or not, I think this band has made a very appealing album with "Fortune Telling". The album opener "Happy as I am" sets the mood immediately and it is a very happy tune. "What's in a name?" all over again! Many different tempo's in the song remind us of being in different moods. I especially like the "spoken part" followed by the lyrics: "I don't think so!". this is obviously the happy part. :-)

"It could be me" is a soft emotional track, beautifully sung by Steve Taylor. "Random" is a somewhat heavier and more experimental track. "360°" is a very short track containing beautiful violins. A nice "intermission" sort of speak. After this "intermission" comes another highlight of the album: "Keep the exits clear". I completely love this track! Many different tempo's, wonderful melodies and a great chorus: this is STRANGEFISH at their best!

"Have you seen the light" is a more up-tempo again, followed by "Lightswitch", another intermission track. "Ignorance of bliss" is another one of my favourites. Just as great as "Keep the exits clear". The two "Reflection" songs are very good too. "This is me part I" is again sung by the "jolly joker" and "This is me part II" is sung by the softer, more serious side of Mr. Strangefish. I love the strong melody in it, this seems to be the thread through the entire album. The album ends with "Lighthouse jig". This track starts out as a Celtic inspired song, mainly instrumental and we get the same "happy feeling" all over again as where the album kicked of with. Seems like the circle is round again.

Fortune Telling is a very nice effort from STRANGEFISH. 4 stars.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I went out of my way to secure this judiciously reviewed album by Strangefish on our site , as well as a positive write-up in the French Canadian prog magazine Terra Incognita. The beguiling comments were unanimous in their praise for this much maligned sub-genre , which deserves a little more respect, for if it wasn't for Marillion back in the early 80s , there would be a much smaller and less rabid prog scene today, certainly, no more than rehashing reminiscences of the bygone glory of progressive rock. Neo is capable of delivering some excellent groups and stupendous recordings, especially when they search to distance themselves from cloning past successes and formulas. Well, these british lads most assuredly offer up a different recipe , both similar and distant to the neo ruling class (IQ, Arena, Galahad, Tantalus, Big Big Train, Knight Area, Pendragon etc.) . Firstly, excellent vocalist Steve Taylor doesn't attempt a Fish-Gabriel (which is why they named themselves Strangefish?) , owning a distinctive style that shines through most eloquently on all the tracks presented here. My colleague Sinkadotree , correctly compared Taylor's voice to Sylvan's powerful singer Marco Glühmann on his review of Strangefish's debut disc, and this is most crucial as vocals are our genre's Achilles heel and only rarely do we get good , dare I say intelligent lyrics to add to the mix. Great story line, highly contemporary and a tinge sarcastic (I love sarcasm, it's oh so British!), the songs fit well within an instrumental palette that seeks a little originality within the strict confines of the genre. Bob (I hope his discreet last name isn't Loblaw! Ha, ha, ha!) is a splendid guitarist, skillfully remote from the usual Hackettisms, thanks to a more level sounding attack, that will include whimsical Mark Knopfler-like picking , giving out an almost Traffic (The Low Spark" era) on "Ignorance of Bliss" a scintillating piece of classic prog. Bob also knows how to search and destroy, blazing a few scorching leads along the way. What a find, last name not withstanding! Keyboardist O'Neill paints the canvas , deftly combining sparkling synth leads, colored piano tinklings and rousing organ runs. Bassist Julian Gregory is a true revelation, playing a wicked violin, mandolin and viola, backing up his simple, yet precise bass patterns. Drummer Whittaker is not asked to Brufordize and he doesn't, keeping everything tight and edgy. I am really stunned at the sheer quality of this offering, especially the last half which is fabulously expressed, great stuff that deserves applause and recognition. The jig closes out with bombastic élan , an appropriate finale for a lusciously moody, well-crafted musical story that is most worthy of our respect . Fiver.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Strangefish debut album Full Scale was a really good album that I rated 4 stars even though it was 4 small stars. Fortune Telling is a very similar album both in quality and style. The big influences are still Marillion, Genesis and IQ. IQ is mostly heard in the vocal melodies and the way Steve Taylor sings at times. There is also a healthy dose of hard rock on Fortune Telling as there were on Full Scale and Steve Taylor is in addition to being a great prog rock singer also a very good hard rock ditto. In fact Steve Taylor is one of the best vocalists I have ever heard in a neo progressive band. I know the competition isn´t that hard, but he is a really great singer.

The music is in the neo progressive vein but with hard rock moments here and there. There are also some symphonic prog rock moments that makes this album more than your average neo progressive album. A song like It Could Be me is a great example of the symphonic Style Strangfish is also capable of. It´s my favorite track here. Most songs are of a pretty high quality but a song like Random isn´t to my liking. Personally I think Strangefish are best when they play the symphonic style. The more pure neo progressive moments don´t do that much for me, but fortunately they always mix the genres. In 360° and Keep the exits clear there is some violin parts too. It all adds to the diversity of the album.

The musicians are very competent and again I have to mention how great a songer Steve Taylor is. He masters every genre to perfection.

The production is pretty average. Not bad though. It just doesn´t do that much for the music.

I think Fortune Telling is very similar to Strangefish debut album Full Scale and there hasn´t been that much development in their sound. I gave Full Scale a small 4 star rating and I will give this one a big 3 star rating. It´s pretty good but not fantastic and next time I want to hear some development in the sound. Strangefish have lots of potential IMO but still needs to show that they can do more than just make above average albums.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is a concept album about an ordinary man who is content with his life but because of the constant media barrage that he hears and sees he wonders about what it would be like to be rich. One day a robbery occurs and he is shot and is taken to the hospital in a coma. During this state he dreams that he is rich and famous, but he doesn't like it's trappings and what he has become. He wakes up from the coma to find out(surprise) he has won the lottery, and now that he is awake he can collect. He decides to pass on the riches though and continue his normal life. A little corny in my opinion although I like the message of being content with who you are and what you have. I think musically it's pretty similar to "Full Scale"(their debut), but I don't think it's as good. Something is sacrificed I believe in trying to stay true to the concept.This one has violin on it as well.

"Happy As I Am" takes a while for a melody to appear, but when it does you know it.The Banks-like synths are cool. Some nice bass lines 2 minutes in followed up by some great guitar from Bob. Vocals before 3 minutes and they do get theatrical at times. A calm 4 minutes in is broken by some aggressive guitar and a full sound. Check out the bass 5 1/2 minutes in. It becomes calm again to end it. "It Could Be Me" is sort of dark with piano to open before vocals come in. Our subject is being tempted. Some spacey synths before the bass becomes prominant. Acoustic guitar after 3 minutes. Electric guitar a minute later. More synths washes and guitar late in this melancholic tune. "Random" opens with the robber shouting "Don't anybody move !" This is where he gets shot. Great sound throughout this song.The synths and guitar are excellent. Vocals 2 minutes in with more powerful melodies to follow. "360" is one minute of violin melodies that blends into "Keep The Exits Clear". Piano joins the violins before it all sort of fades away as reserved vocals come in. It builds to a full sound a minute in. The contrast between the mellow and fuller passages continue. I love the guitar from Bob 3 minutes in that goes on and on. "Have You Seen The Light ?" is an uptempo track with fast paced vocals. He really reminds me of Marco from SYLVAN after a minute. Nice bass lines 2 1/2 minutes in followed by some ripping guitar. Organ follows and they really kick butt after 5 minutes. "Lightswitch" features lots of spacey synths. "Ignorance Of Bliss" opens with slowly pounded drums with synths and gentle guitar. Vocals slowly sing. Some heaviness comes and goes during this track. I like the mournful guitar later on. "Reflection" is spacey to begin with before guitar and synths take over. Nice sound. It blends into "This Is Me (Part I)" where we get vocals again sounding like Marco. "This Is Me (Part II)" opens with soft higher pitched vocals and normal vocals trading lines in a mellow soundscape. Piano followed by some nice gentle guitar and synths.The guitar becomes more passionate and simply shines. I can't help but smile because it all sounds so dreamy and content. Violin before 5 minutes. This is the end of the concept with a bonus track left called "Lighthouse Jig". The keyboard player(Paul) tells how this song was put together in his flat that they had nicknamed The Lighthouse. It really is a jig ! Yikes ! Actually it's pretty good with violin taking a lead role. It gets better as it goes with some blistering guitar and the jig part becoming less obvious.

I feel much like UMER in that "Full Scale" for me was barely a 4 star record, while this one is a notch below it in my opinion. So 3.5 is my rating. Hopefully tszirmay will still talk to me.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 4,5 stars !!! Fantastic second album from STRANGEFISH , at this time the sound is a little more "soft" in a overall way, but the mix of hard/heavy/symphonic of first album that I point in my review still remains. Maybe the conceptual theme of the album ( the old inner battle between "be some ... (read more)

Report this review (#1772742) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, August 19, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fantastic album.Better than the first one. Very complex,this incidental album shows they are neo prog bands that are very creative and inspired. (unfortunately most of this bands are in the rock easy listening issue). Instrumental arrangements are very good, unexpected musical variations ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#187409) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is difficult to pigeonhole the relatively new band Strangefish. One can hear glimpses of Genesis, IQ, and Marillion here and there, but there are also hints of Spock's Beard, and perhaps even Kansas or Gentle Giant, among others. What this means is that Strangefish does not have a derivat ... (read more)

Report this review (#92145) | Posted by Foxtrot | Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a magnificent work to listen to when tiredness overcomes you and you can't go on, and then you hear 'Happy As I Am'. It's happy music to lift the fallen spirit, made up of beautiful melodies that thread from song to song. The bricks from which the pieces are built bring the most varied me ... (read more)

Report this review (#82556) | Posted by decogna99 | Monday, July 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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