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Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom

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Ship of Fools picture
Ship of Fools biography
SHIP OF FOOLS were a UK-based band that formed in 1992, consisting of Sputnik (bass), Damien Clarke (keyboards), Les Smith (keyboards) and Mick Reed (drums). Andy Banks (guitars, mandolin, gliss) hooked up with the band soon after, along with Graham Wilkes (flutes, harmonica).

They were signed to Dreamtime, a subsidiary of metal label Peaceville, and released the album "Close Your Eyes (Forget the World)" in 1993.

Following this release Wilkes apparently left the band (although he would appear as a guest musician on their next release), and was replaced by Oko (guitar). With this slightly revamped line-up in place a new album was recorded, released as "Out There Somewhere" in 1994.

The band folded in 1996 due to musical differences.

In 2002 Smith, who had worked with CRADLE OF FILTH and ANATHEMA following the split of SHIP OF FOOLS, took the time to put together a compilation chronicling the explorations of his former band, released as "Let's Get This Mother Outta Here" the same year.

UK act SHIP OF FOOLS explored a variety of space rock where they mixed lush, symphonic textures of the kind explored by bands like MARILLION with spacey explorations of the kind made popular by acts like HAWKWIND and OZRIC TENTACLES, resulting in a brand of melodic space rock with distinct neo-progressive tendencies.

SHIP OF FOOLS Videos (YouTube and more)

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SHIP OF FOOLS discography

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SHIP OF FOOLS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.32 | 18 ratings
Close Your Eyes (Forget the World)
3.92 | 20 ratings
Out There Somewhere

SHIP OF FOOLS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SHIP OF FOOLS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SHIP OF FOOLS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 5 ratings
Let's Get This Mother Outta Here

SHIP OF FOOLS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Out There Somewhere by SHIP OF FOOLS album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.92 | 20 ratings

Out There Somewhere
Ship of Fools Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm surprised to be the first to review SHIP OF FOOLS second and final album "Out There Somewhere". Released in 1994 this has a beautiful album cover, very striking and in tune with the concept here of inner and outer space. This band out of the UK released their debut the year before in 1993 and included a flautist who left after that album but guests on track two. He was replaced by another guitarist making that two of them along with two keyboardists, drums and bass. Several guest too help out as well.

OZRIC TENTACLES seem to be an influence for sure but I like how they add these vocal samples and bits even some narration all reminding me of early PORCUPINE TREE and how Wilson would interject stuff like that during their psychedelic period. Highlights have to include the over 15 minute "From Time" with the narration talking about the "ships of fools" and what they were about. Very cool along with the contrasts of the powerful guitar/drum sections with the more spacier laid back passages. It will eventually trip along before ending in a spacey atmosphere with spoken words.

More talk about inner space on the closer but before that we get a spacey sound with space transmissions. Some inventive guitar later. There's a really good powerful section on the title track 6 1/2 minutes in with guitar out front. It's very spacey to end it. The opener "Elevator" is kind of cool and OZRICS like but I prefer the final three songs I just talked about. "Diesel Spaceship" though is really good, that second track with spoken words about hurtling through the cosmos.

"First Light" is well done with that long 2 1/2 minute spacey intro before kicking into a mid paced groove with organ then changing slightly with synths and ethnic sounds. Contrasts continue. Not bad. "Guidance Is Eternal" features space transmissions, spoken word samples lots of spacey sounds and a space groove all coming and going. And that guitar after 3 1/2 minutes needs a mention.

Easily a 4 star record with some cool ideas in play making this truly an album experience the way they connect these songs together.

 Close Your Eyes (Forget the World) by SHIP OF FOOLS album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.32 | 18 ratings

Close Your Eyes (Forget the World)
Ship of Fools Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars An instrumental UK Space Rock BAND,Ship of fools were formed in 1992 by guitarist Andy Banks,a bassist nicknamed Sputnik,ex-1919 drummer Mick Reed and two keyboardists: Damien Clarke and Les Smith,better known for his work later with black metallers Cradle of Filth and psych/prog rockers Anathema.Soon after they were formed Ship of Fools debuted with ''Close Your Eyes (Forget the World)'' on the Dreamtime label.

Heavily influenced by bands like PINK FLOYD,DJAM KARET and OZRIC TENTACLES,Ship of fools deliver nice Space Rock with prog touches like on the opener ''In the wake of...'',where guitars have an Ethnic edge and are mixed with hypnotic synths and programmed flutes.''Where is here?'' is dominated by atmospheric synths all the way under a catchy repetitive rhythm with guitars supporting,while ''Passage by night'' is more of the same,but with some great organ added.''L=Sd2'' is fantastic with nice guitar work,good breaks and superb floating synths,followed by ''S.O.L. '93'',where sampled flutes appear again along with distorted spacey guitars and atmospheric electronics in a very Eastern-influenced mood.''Star jumper'' has a more intense and accesible rhythm with the groovy drumming being this time noticed,while the guitar work is more melodic and the synths have a more supporting role.On ''Western lands'' the flute work shines through along with the acoustic guitars in the beginning,while the track maintains a strong Meditterenean feeling till the end due to the strong doses of accordion thrown in.Even some grandiose symphonic synths appear here,this track is absolutely great.The eponymous closing cut is the longer as well.Opening with an Ambient/Ethnic feeling with flutes and percussion,it soon follows a very spacey groove with background keys and constant appearances of ethnic instrumentation.

This album is good.It is nowhere near the hypnotic stuff offered by other bands of the genre and the combination of Space Rock with a fair amount of Ethnic hints is satisfying.Fans of the aforementioned bands should check this out.Overall ''Close Your Eyes (Forget the World)'' comes warmly recommended.

 Let's Get This Mother Outta Here by SHIP OF FOOLS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
3.13 | 5 ratings

Let's Get This Mother Outta Here
Ship of Fools Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions

3 stars When I listen to this album I can detect a lot of references to other psych/space bands which are representing quite different styles by all means. I don't want to enumerate them all in my review. No - it's not my opinion that SHIP OF FOOLS are existing from plagiarism. I'm only surprised by the manifoldness. Okay - this is a compilation on the other hand - probably something like a Best Of taken from their two albums from 1993 and 1994. Their music is stimulated by powerful and excellently played drums, sometimes tribal in the vein of some Hungarian bands like Sonar and Korai Öröm. Keyboards and electronics are dominating, guitars are taking a backseat but when they appear played mellow and very emotional. Overall the songs are relatively short (with one exception) so maybe you can say they avoid extended jamming in general.

The opener Diesel Spaceship is a great space rock tune garnished with samples and diverse synth elements but also played with a modern straightforward beat. Ambient soundscapes are substituted by heavy guitar riffs after some minutes on L=SD2 where keyboarder Damien is getting near to Eloy's symphonic style. One song I want to point out especially is From Time - the exception I mentioned before - wonderfully floating 14 minutes with great guitar appearance which can be defined as jamming for sure - a highlight! And it seems they reworked the original tracks for some new transitions. The song is fading into Passage By Night from the other album as if they were produced as one epic. The nice folk/pop tinged Western Lands gets a little bit out of the range.

Because SHIP OF FOOLS are blending a bunch of influences this album is diffult to compare as for the whole entity. Very spacey using spheric keyboards and soundscapes but also provided with a modern neo progressive groove this might appeal to fans of Ozric Tentacles or Körai Öröm. You will explore music which is not weird or experimental particularly - an interesting find anyhow with quite accessable songs according to the genre - 3.5 stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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