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Fish On Friday

Crossover Prog

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Fish On Friday Black Rain album cover
4.26 | 49 ratings | 3 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Life in Towns (5:45)
2. Murderous Highland Highway (8:13)
3. Black Rain (4:53)
4. Mad at the World (4:57)
5. Letting Go of You (6:48)
6. Angel of Mercy (4:48)
7. We've Come Undone (5:08)
8. Morphine (3:08)
9. We Choose to Be Happy (3:25)
10. Trapped in Heaven (4:04)
11. Diamonds (4:22)

Total Time 55:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Van Bogaert / keyboards, guitar, vocals, producer & arranger
- William Beckers / keyboards, percussion
- Marty Townsend / acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin
- Nick Beggs / bass, Chapman Stick, backing vocals
- Marcus Weymaere / drums & percussion

- Lula Beggs / vocals

Releases information

Label: Cherry Red Records/Esoteric Antenna
Format: CD, Digital
April 17, 2020
Artwork: Michal Karcz

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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FISH ON FRIDAY Black Rain ratings distribution

(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FISH ON FRIDAY Black Rain reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
5 stars I'm saddened by the minimal amount of attention for this wonderful band from Antwerpen, Belgium. Not only this latest album has remained unreviewed, but there are only five PA reviews in total, as many as they have released studio albums since their formation in 2009. Yeah, it's debatable if Fish On Friday is a progressive rock band in the first place, but does it really matter? Their music is melodic, very accessible and catchy pop-rock with a prog flavor and I enjoy them to a great deal. My acquaintance with their other albums is incomplete, but I daresay that on Black Rain the band is at their strongest.

The frontman Frank Van Boegart is responsibe of vocals, songwriting, keyboards and additional guitars. The main guitarist Marty Townsend seems to have a blues background (which isn't very audible here), while the most acknowledged member of the quartet is the British bass/Chapman stick player Nick Beggs who joined the line-up for the third album Godspeed (2014). Beggs has played in Kajagoogoo, Iona, The Mute Gods, Lifesigns plus bands of both Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson, so he's pretty known in modern prog circles. But it's definitely the singer- songwriter that deserves the biggest kudos. For starters, Frank is an excellent vocalist. His voice is warm and sensitive, comparable to Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout) and Nick Magnus (Steve Hackett, solo). Oh, nearly forgot to mention that Frank Van Boegart also produces the music and does it truly excellently. Without a hesitation I make a reference to Alan Parsons. The sound is clear, dynamic, organic and easy on the ears in a good way.

When I say that all these eleven songs are highly pleasant, I don't mean the album would be overtly mellow pop missing some kick and grab. On the contrary, it may be sharper than the earlier albums. Sonically it's not difficult at all to consider it as Crossover Prog. The songs do not stretch the compositional structure very radically, but nor they fall into the trap of refrain-chorus-refrain-chorus-bridge-chorus. 'Murderous Highland Highway' is the longest at eight minutes without notably sticking out as a prog highlight in my reception, simply because other songs are mostly equally successful. The title track is a good example of the effective, positive catchiness in this band's music. The female & male background vocals throughout the album work nicely, and the special guest Lula Beggs appears more upfront on some songs such as the ballad 'Letting Go of You', where one also hears soprano sax and clarinet of Theo Travis (Soft Machine, King Crimson, The Tangent, Steven Wilson,...). The closing piece 'Diamonds' is nearly a duet with Lula.

By looking at the few previous reviews for Fish On Friday here, I guess the most easily spotted shortcoming could be worded as "more of the same". Perhaps so, since they were very good right from the start and had found their own style. I notice that I enjoy this album more and more with each listening, so I feel justified to give a full rating. Instead of being "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music" (obviously not, I know!), this is a wonderfully written, produced and performed album of prog-pop, and warmly recommended to all friends of melodic, modern Crossover Prog from Steve Hackett and Nick Magnus to It Bites and Lonely Robot -- especially if you also have a good time with sophisticated pop like Prefab Sprout and Tears For Fears.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's amazing how many beautiful, high quality albums sneak beneath the radar each and every year. This is one of them: an album of pure pop-prog ear candy in the same pool with ALAN PARSONS PROJECT and TONY PATTERSON's 2016 masterpiece, Equations of Meaning.

1. "Life in Towns" (5:45) a pensive song of pure ear candy. Even the spoken word passage at 3:30 is reinforced powerfully with the amped up multi-voice chorus right after. Great 12-string strumming reminiscent of AMERICA's "I Need You" and so many of the songs on Tony Patterson's Equations of Meaning. A top three song. (9.5/10)

2. "Murderous Highland Highway" (8:13) such amazing ear candy! Undeniable! I love the R&B "doo-wop" background vocals during the awesome instrumental passage from 3:40 to 5:30 and how it's helping to anchor the heavenly music during the album's best guitar solo. My favorite song on the album. (15/15)

3. "Black Rain" (4:53) a little too saccharine and with less heart-tugging hooks than the opening two songs. Still, Nick Beggs is such an underrated bass player. (8.75/10)

4. "Mad at the World" (4:57) an interesting pop song with 12-strings and APP-like lead vocals. Nice chord change hooks between the verses and the choruses and back. (8.875/10)

5. "Letting Go of You" (6:48) a gentle, country/folk-tinged guitar song featuring the vocals of Nick's daughter, Lula, in the lead department. It's decent--especially as it builds over time. Somehow it reminds me of Train's song "Calling All Angels." (13.125/15)

6. "Angel of Mercy" (4:48) another song that reminds me of the AMERICA-like songscapes created by TONY PATTERSON for his 2016 masterpiece, Equations of Meaning. It never quite reaches the same heights as Tony's work but it's nice. (8.875/10)

7. "We've Come Undone" (5:08) cool opening with "lonely piano" with robot-effected multi-voiced vocals. The music ramps up for the chorus sections like Steven Wilson is prone to do. Cool effect when the bass tempo doubles and Lula Beggs takes over the lead vocal in the third minute. (9/10)

8. "Morphine" (3:08) pretty strummed acoustic guitar, keyboard, and bass weave supported by hi-hat and rim taps leading up to another TONY PATTERSON/ALAN PARSONS PROJECT-like vocal. Also cool electric guitar floating around in the background. (9/10)

9. "We Choose to Be Happy" (3:25) A song whose group singing approach for all of its vocals conjures up the hippie pop bands of the 1960s like the Mamas And The Papas. It's okay--though the lyrics are a bit too sappy, even for me. (8.5/10)

10. "Trapped in Heaven" (4:04) very pretty music and composition weighted down by the same whole group singing approach as the previous song (though I do not hear the presence of a female in this choir). All chord changes, instrumental play and palette as well as solos show a very seasoned and confident composer. Almost a top three song for me. (9.25/10)

11. "Diamonds" (4:22) pensive mathematic synth sequence on repeat opens this, providing enough fabric for Frank and his piano to start their parts. Nice to hear Lula in the background vocal choir. The music amps up beautifully, emotionally, in the second verse, leading to some great synth solo work as well as some awesome Lula Beggs wordless vocalise. My final top three song. (9.5/10)

Total Time 55:31

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of prog pop music--one that many prog lovers will fall in love with--especially the NeoProg crowd.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Prog with pop sensibilities, or is it pop with prog sensibilities? Which ever the case, this is quite an accomplishment. And it's timing was impeccable, early in the covid shut down, a time of great darkness and depression for many. Here is a group of songs that for the most part are encouraging ... (read more)

Report this review (#2785237) | Posted by SilverLight59 | Wednesday, August 17, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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