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Fish - Raingods With Zippos CD (album) cover





3.68 | 261 ratings

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2 stars I am a really big fan of Marillion, and many Neo-Prog stuff as a whole. I don't know, something just clicks with me whenever I listen to an album that has a certain style and aura around it, especially when it is in the realm of neo Prog. I love how dramatic, emotional, poetic, and how theatrically grand it can really get. So with my love for the genre, I decided to check out one of the main contributors to the whole movement that came about in the early 80s, and that'd be Marillion's old singer and songwriter, Derek Dick, better known as, Fish. I have been itching to see what this man can achieve with his solo work since his time with Marillion was nothing short of amazing, even when it only lasted a mere 4 albums. So I decided to check this album out to see what Fish can pull off after his chapter with Marillion closed.

The first song on here is Tumbledown. It starts off with this very elegant piano instrumental. It has a nice progression through this little segment, and is super beautiful. However this all is taken aback with the song fully starting up with some pop like chords and riffs. This was honestly quite unexpected when it first happened, and kinda disappointing. The reason for it is that the change doesn't fit. I know Prog is very eclectic and loves to change up styles and sounds on a dime, but generally it is best to make it sound consistent and smooth. Imagine it as a dinner plate. You got your meats, your cheeses, your veggies, maybe even a dessert. Lots of different stuff, but all work well with one another to where it never really bothers you. Here, it's weird, it doesn't fit. We went from a nice and somber sounding piano instrumental, but then we immediately switched to something that is the exact opposite, something cheery sounding and poppy. It doesn't feel consistent or anywhere to feel good. But I do commend the song for being very catchy and enjoyable besides the whole switch up, but even then it does just feel like your average pop song, not even like a Prog pop song, just normal pop. Kind of a downer to be honest.

Next we got Mission Statement. I really enjoy this song. It's catchy, and has a sorta swing to it. It gets you hooked pretty easily and has a lot of rhymically fun grooves and beats. However I started to really notice a little something off with Fish's vocals. I decided to compare what they were in the 80s to here and I saw that he doesn't have that same Scottish spunk he had in his voice here than he did back when he was in Marillion. He barely has that very meaty accent and voice he had, which is really disappointing cause that aspect of his voice is what made me fall in love with his old band in the first place. I cannot help but feel a sense of loss with this song and the remainder of the album going forward. It's just some little things I wished stuck you know?

The next track is Incomplete. This is a very cool and sorta noir sounding acoustic song with an addition of Elisabeth Antwi also being a lead vocalist here in conjunction with Fish. Honestly, this song is great. Because it is acoustic, instrumentation is going to be a lot less intrusive and makes the song a lot more realized than what it would be if it were filled with nothing but instruments. Funny how this song feels the most complete song here while it's called Incomplete. I also really love that whole duet of Fish and Elisabeth singing together, and to be honest I wished it happened more on this album. This album definitely has a problem of introducing an idea but never actually runs with it. Every song is so different from the last that the only consistency is the sorta pop-like stature these songs have. I like my Prog consistent in that everything, no matter the differences, fits together in some way or shape. Here, nothing fits and it feels weird.

Now we got Tilted Cross, and I think we are getting somewhere now. After Incomplete I expected something very different but now we have this, another great acoustic track, with great chord progressions. It was very breathtaking to actually hear the album starting to feel like it has a clear identity, but then I start to question, why now? This is the fourth song on the album, and we got through three songs that are all very different from one another, and now we are getting some kind of form and shape within the album after all this time? It seems kind of fishy (puns intended) that now we are getting songs that are consistent from one another despite the differences.

Next we got Faithhealer. Now we are back to the pop stuff, but a lot more new wave and similar to that of Tumbledown. I don't really have much gripes with this song, it's fun and catchy, and I think I have already made my mark clear on my problems with this song, or songs now on this album. I won't deny I am sorta bashing this album a lot so why not introduce some kind of positivity, like the guitars. I really like the guitars so far on this album, the quintet of guitarists of Bruce Watson of Foreigner, Robin Boult, Til Paulman, Phil Grieve, and the legendary Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree do such an amazing job with their guitar playing. They give out a strong power within the album that hooks you right in, and this song is definitely one of their best due to the heavy chords and playing. Definitely really good.

Next we got Rites Of Passage, one last acoustic ballad, except it's a lot more orchestral and somber. I honestly really really like this tune, and looking past every issue I have for this album again, I cannot deny that this song is great and really well made. How the instrumentation just melts around Fish's vocals, and how it definitely feels very emotional. It's really nice and gives out a lot of those good feelings out of you, with a sorta bittersweet feeling attached all around. This is definitely one of those highlight songs on the album.

Now we get to the last song. From what I have researched this is Fish's first solo epic, and this is called Plague of Ghosts. I was curious about what it would sound like. After finishing it, I guess it was alright. The segments were good and the suite was definitely polished and well worth going through, but to be honest I just think nothing ever really sounds right throughout it all. Again, this album has a very huge inconsistency problem, and this song is just a shortened version of that. Some parts feel like they are from different albums all together, and when there is an idea going, they never fully roll with it, they just immediately switch over to the next part on a dime without any second thought. I cannot say I am mad at this, just very disappointed. I expected a bit more, and I know Fish can do more, he has done far more, but here, he wasn't at his clear peak of creative and writing highs at the moment, and that really sucks.

So this album is ok all around but throughout it all it felt very inconsistent, a little too bland in some cases, and just doesn't have any identity besides the three-ish acoustic songs and the long suite at the end. I cannot deny it has good moments, but the experience is definitely not one I'd recommend. Only check it out if you know what to expect with the album.

Dapper~Blueberries | 2/5 |


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