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Fish - Internal Exile CD (album) cover





3.15 | 259 ratings

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Luke. J
4 stars And you know it's right... With ''Internal Exile'', Fish finally found his own voice. While his first solo album after he left Marillion sounded quite like the aforementioned, he had by the time of ''Internal Exile'' found a style somewhere between pop, rock and folk with progressive elements. Also, he is more involved in songwriting than on the predecessor. As a result, the focus on this record is more on the vocals, which seem even more matured than on ''Misplaced Childhood''. Fish stays away from his early influences of Peter Gabriel and Peter Hammill and sounds like nobody else but Fish. Also, one is wrong when expecting instrumental virtuosity. The musicians are really able, yet they concentrate more on the song but a demonstration of their skills, what makes this album an enjoyable listen. The tasteful playing and the decent songwriting make it more than just good - maybe the first high-point of Fish's solo career.

''Shadowplay'' starts with a quiet intro, until Fish's voice and guitars come in. This is more a mid-tempo song, with powerful guitar and also powerful vocals. It reminds me more of his times with Marillion than all that is later to come. Also, it features nice tempo changes in the end. Good to start this album with one of its highlights. In the next song ''Credo'', the mood becomes more thoughtful, hold-back vocals above atmospheric guitar-work, this song explodes in its refrain, is suddenly more rock, similar to ''Shadowplay''. ''Just Good Friends'' is in a similar vein, calm verse and powerful chorus, however, the energy of it builds up with the repetition of the chorus. ''Favourite Stranger'' is a whole simple track, that can sometimes be annoying. It is hold in a monotonous atmosphere of simple keyboard sounds and simple singing. Occasionally the guitar drops in. Really nothing special. ''Lucky'' is what you could call a prog-hit, with its catchy chorus and overall poppy feel, yet it is crafted in a more complex way than your radio tracks could be. Thanks to Fish's voice, it will stay in your ear for a long time. ''Dear Friend'' brings the ballad feel back. Special mention goes to the emotional vocals in this overall solid track. To me, this is a better attempt in this style than ''Favourite Stranger''. Now, ladies and gentlemen, the highlights of the album: ''Tongues'' can be difficult to like at first or even twentieth listen, as it is very unusual of anything on this album before, especially for Fish's singing. He sometimes sounds like imitating a wolf's howling, that creates a haunting atmosphere and sometimes as 'angry', or let's say 'hard' like in his early days with Marillion. This song features some nice break in the middle and builds up to a climax in the end. An experience if you like the beauty of the strange. ''Internal Exile'' probably is the most folky, happy and uplifting song on this album. The relaxed sound transmits the atmosphere of a rural exile, really. The accordion playing supports this mood in the end, while the whole thing speeds up. ''Something in the Air'' keeps this folk atmosphere, but is more powerful as its predecessor. To those who are already familiar with the name of the track: Yes, this is indeed a cover, nevertheless a good closer to a great album.

One word to the lyrics: The booklet claims this to be ''a collection of boy's own stories'', Fish says that it is inspired by his country. We have really the lines of an obscure Scottish poet (excuse me for this quote), little stories with more artistic approach, similar to his work for Marillion. The lyrics are worth a look on their own (with the exception of the last track) beside of their music, as they are little works of art for themselves.

Overall, ''Internal Exile'' delivers pleasant music for the fans of a more simple form of progressive music or the ones who want to check out what Fish did after his work with Marillion. Recommended to anyone who can do without instrumental tour de force or highly complex compositional structures, and also to people who only want a good listen. You can not do much wrong with this album, but it is by no means a must-have, yet in every case an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Luke. J | 4/5 |


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