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FIRESHIPS

Peter Hammill

Eclectic Prog


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Peter Hammill Fireships album cover
3.62 | 85 ratings | 8 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Will Find You (4:43)
2. Curtains (5:43)
3. His Best Girl (5:00)
4. Oasis (5:37)
5. Incomplete Surrender (6:38)
6. Fireships (7:21)
7. Given Time (6:32)
8. Reprise (4:18)
9. Gaia (5:32)

Total Time: 52:11

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Hammill / vocals, guitar (1,6-7), keyboards (1,3,5-6), bass (6), percussion (1,6), piano (2,7,9), Pads (4), string (5), Wind (5),
- David Lord / strings (1,7), percussion (1,4), keyboards (2,4,7), orchestral arrangement (2,8, 9), bass (4), percussion (4), strings (7), Wind (7), samples (8)
- Nic Potter / bass (1,3,5)
- Stuart Gordon / violin (2-6)
- David Jackson / Soprano sax (4), flute (4), Alto sax (6)
- John Ellis / guitar (5)

Releases information

CD (1992): FIE! 9103 (UK), Rockport Records / Rough Trade 388 7003241 (Germany)
Remastered CD (2006): FIE! 9103

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Peter Pan for the last updates
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PETER HAMMILL Fireships ratings distribution


3.62
(85 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (24%)
24%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

PETER HAMMILL Fireships reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Yet another intriguing album from Hammill , at least from the artwork point of view and for a long time, I thought there was a link with The Roaring Forties and its intriguing artwork also, but thankfully Fireship is a much better album than TRF. The main obvious difference is that the drumming is not quite as awful as on the other album, but it still is a very basic straight-ahead boring sound. Actually this remark is valid for a lot of Hammill's albums where Guy Evans is absent. And I would never thought I'd say this one day, but actually I wish Hammill would've used drum machines rather than ask drummers to play this poor and unimaginative. Oooops, I think he actually does on this one... ;o)o)

Aside from this remark (I specify again this is valid for many of his records), the album is rather above the average compared to his entire discography, but again the same remarks also applies to this album regarding the choice (dare I say the relevance?) of the tracks: half of them would've gained their inclusion elsewhere. Hammill's usual collabs of the time are again present (Potter, Gordon and to a lesser extent Ellis and Jackson), but the difference with this album is David Lord with his kb, strings orchestral arrangements and he even gets a co-writing credit and a co-production credit. Not that his contributions are changing anything under the Hammill Sun, as the tracks are still generally slow-paced allowing for some interesting ambiances (start of Incomplete Surrender), but again this album fails to take off. I realize that Hammill's songs (with generally extremely profound and personal lyrics) are not designed to "take-off", but we can only be slightly disappointed when the tracks speed up slightly, the level of decibels slightly rise above the quiet-mark, only to be cruelly deceived when the track falls back down to its previous levels. Exception must be made of the lengthier title track, which does temporarily raise the tone of voice, but it is unfortunately marred by awful drum programming sounds.

Not anymore than essential than his other records from the era, the least we can say is that Hammill's inspirations were not at an all-time high in the early 90's. Best discovered after his 70's and early 80's (and even his 00's) albums.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#77891) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006

Review by Peter Pan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars To me "Fireships" is the most beautiful album of Peter Hammill in terms of melodies and harmonies and it is one the most cohesive albums in terms of arrangement, instrumentation and lyrical content.

"Fireships" is the first album Peter Hammill recorded and published after he founded Fie! Records in 1992. For the first time he had the chance to decide totally for himself what he was going to record and publish. Out of this reason Peter, as he explained in an interview, made his mind up to build his albums more around a certain mood, like "calm" or "noisy". So Fireships was the first release in the "Be Calm Series" (and as things turned out it also stayed the last one which I regret).

"Fireships" resulted from a collaboration between Peter Hammill and David Lord. The latter, well-known British producer and composer, delivered wonderful orchestral arrangements. The strings are sampled but David Lord used real instruments played by Stuart Gordon to mix them with processed ones. The result is gorgeous. The sound is warm, like chamber music, and the strings are perfectly balanced by Peter Hammill's expressive voice.

Speaking of lyrics Peter has again wrote some extraordinary song texts, far above anything people tend to connect with popular music. One more argument for categorizing Peter Hammill's solo albums neither as pop, rock, nor as progressive rock - to me it is contemporary music located somewhere between pop, rock, jazz and classic.

The order of titles on this album seems like a dance, like a movement towards the overwhelming closing "Gaia". Like so often in his albums Peter Hammill takes up contemporary topics. The last songs of "Fireships" are about the Chaos theory and Gaia, the ancient Goddess which stands for the belief that the earth is a being in its whole entity. "Gaia" goes under the skin. It is one of the very few songs that can make my cry.

The remastered edition of "Fireships" from 2006 made the sound a little more clear and especially the basses are heard substantially better. On the other hand the softer sound of the original CD edition from 1992 also had its charms. If you possess the latter one you won't need to buy the new remastered release - except you are a Peter Hammill fan and collect.

Due to the fact that the original CD is out of trade the cover/booklet of the new edition has only minimal changes. Even the catalogue number stayed the same.

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Send comments to Peter Pan (BETA) | Report this review (#89799) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 16, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The good thing with Peter Hammill, is that you never know if you're going to get some brilliant music or average one (or is this a bad thing ?). What's for sure is that I far much prefer the man being surrounded by other musicians than playing as a true and desperate solo artist.

Not that it automatically leads to a masterpiece but at least those efforts were more attractive to my ears. Old friend Jackson is back here again, which is always a relief as far as I'm concerned. But, again: it is not always a guarantee of a great release.

This album holds some excellent numbers, as the wonderful "Curtains". Fully Hammill. Fully Graaf. All the emotion of the great man sweats every second of this song. Dark and low tone voice, discreet instruments backing his so special voice. My fave of the album. A passionate number. And I like passion.

It is funny but each time that I listen to the man, he often manages to thrill me. It is probably due to his special voice which attracts me so much. And the story is now going on for almost thirty five years. With the Graaf or in solo. The magic operated many times. A pure and simple song as "His Best Girl" is another example of the feeling Peter can convey.

Unfortunately, this album is not so performing throughout all the numbers. "Incomplete Surrender" being rather difficult to bear and "Fireships" as well as "Given Time" are just average.

In all, this album started quite well, but my interest dropped rather rapidly and the second part of "Fireships" doesn't match at all my expectations of this "solo" album. "Reprise" being probably the most boring song from this work.

This second half conveys too many extremely tranquil songs. Too tranquil, actually.

I am so sorry that Peter didn't pursue in the direction that this album starts. As such, two stars is the highest rating I can think of.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#178641) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 01, 2008

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars Ever since 1986, Hammill got into a habit, a habit of releasing a ballad album and a rock album in turns. Fireships would serve as a decent ballad album while the ensuing The Noise is supposed to satisfy our need for 90's Hammill rock.

You wouldn't believe it when hearing the lame opener I Will Find You, but this album has actually turned out to be quite an interesting batch of tasteful and intimate songs. With Curtains, His Best Girl and Oasis, he actually has 3 excellent mellow songs in a row. And my enjoyment does not only depend on his new-found inspiration, Hammill must have gotten him self a midi-upgrade for Christmas as he accomplished a really warm and lush sound.

If it wasn't for a nasty key change in the chorus, Incomplete Surrender could have continued the high quality standard. On the title track, Hammill has another clumsy try at using the drum machine. Skip. Given Time is better, with a little guitar picking to accompany the mellow melodies. Not bad but the whole affair is starting to get a bit drowsy. If the opening of Reprise doesn't awake you from the sleepy feel that must have overcome you by now then nothing will. Loud midi-violins that must have escaped the final mix of Usher are guaranteed to wake you up again. For just 20 seconds, before the songs quiets down again and the album finds its final rest with Gaia.

Around 23 minutes of nicely textured mellow ballads. Not enough for 3 stars.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#253271) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009

Latest members reviews

5 stars What can one say? This is simply beauty, lean power, eerie, and one of the best efforts by Mr. Peter Hammill. He hits the mark with his vocals, lyrics and production, which must have been shaped with the talents of David Lord. Art song, by art song, you're taken down a path of (of course with H ... (read more)

Report this review (#1080808) | Posted by tmay102436 | Sunday, November 24, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Work announced in 1991 "Fireship". It makes to the serene silence by the orchestra and the becoming it work collection of profundity. It is an album of a voluminous style. The violin of Stuart Gordon is beautiful.One of his best works of the 80s and the 90s.I love this album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#47270) | Posted by braindamage | Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Just Out of water Fireships appeared on the horizon and this is my absolute beloved among the PH solo albums. It is very intimate, but on the other hand, it is not about 'I' and 'my' and 'me' but instead about 'we'. Sometimes it is difficult to perceive Hammill's music just because it is too p ... (read more)

Report this review (#18749) | Posted by | Saturday, October 16, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The intimate side of Peter Hammill: most of the raucous elements of his sound are kept away on this one: only romantic yet uncanny atmospheric, melodic songs, with saxophone (D. Jackson), violin and orchestral layers. One of his best works of the 80s and the 90s... Recommended! ... (read more)

Report this review (#18746) | Posted by | Monday, July 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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