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Fish On Friday - Black Rain CD (album) cover


Fish On Friday


Crossover Prog

4.26 | 49 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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 and positive, just what was needed! I have been wanting to comment on this for a while but haven't had time until now. This was, and remains, a go to disc when I want an emotional pick me up.

So, is it prog or not? It's here on the site, so I will go out on a limb say yes! Still, I guess it depends on your perspective. You can't deny that these songs have hooks that will create ear worms that are hard to get rid of ? very pop oriented. The vocals are pleasant and easy to listen to but nothing to extreme or challenging. The lyrics while not profoundly deep are enjoyable and compelling enough. But, this for the most part is not pop in the sense of top 40. These songs are musical journeys with changes in tempo, instrumentation, and good stretches of instrumental creativity, hence the more prog oriented side.

The first four tracks come bolting out of the gate like race horses determined to win the roses. Not that they are particularly fast, but they have intensity and creativity that is hard to resist, each one getting slightly faster and more intense than the one preceding it. It easy to see that this will be an engaging listen to follow. So some brief thoughts on the tracks:

Life in Towns: A thought provoking treatise on the disconnect of humanity towards one another, very pretty song, nice piano and guitar work with underlying synths that build up to a spoken word break mid way, and then grows in intensity to a big finish. The theme of this song seems all the more powerful given the isolation created by covid. (10/10 for being more prog oriented)

Murderous Highland Highway: This starts soft and builds up lyrically with instruments coming in gradually and then lifting it up as the tempo takes off. The beginning of this has a familiar 80's new wave folk edge that sounds familiar and welcome but you can't quite put your finger on it. This has nice central instrumental section with chorus in the background, breaks back into the lyrics and builds up to final guitar supported finish. Another big winner. (10/10 for being more prog oriented)

Black Rain: This is of course the title track, and it picks up the pace straight away. Breaks into lyrics. The opening piano comes off almost like an upbeat Elton John song from his early days, guitar quickly joins, and then comes the lead vocals with strong up front chorus singing in competition. Big tempo, nice guitar work, again, upbeat in nature. (9/10 for being more pop oriented)

Mad at the World: Starts with irregular synth notes, backwards, perhaps? Followed by piano and climbs into another mid tempo track. Lovely vocals, beautiful guitar, very pretty song. It would be hard to not like it! (9/10 for being more pop oriented)

Letting Go of You: Starts with pensive piano, soft vocal, then gives way to first female lead vocal. A nice duet which totally changes the direction of the previous four tracks. First half is a pretty straight forward ballad, but picks up in the second half with some brass, saxophone perhaps? Not a bad track, but not up to quality of the previous four. Does have a nice guitar finish for the last minute and a half. (7/10 definitely more on the pop side of the fence)

Angel of Mercy: Another big song that just draws you in emotionally, moderate pace but just strikes a chord that makes you feel good. So accessible and yet it has a lovely prog undercurrent that makes you wish it was even longer (10/10 so good!)

We've Come Undone: This one begins with a darker soundscape, synthesized vocal initially, and then continues the male & female duet style, but more upbeat, with the chorus over the top. Builds to a nice finish (8/10 not as pop this time)

Morphine: A short mostly instrumental track, with nice rhythm guitar over what sounds like slide guitar. Good atmospheric sound scape (9/10 proggy enough)

We Choose to be Happy: Okay, this one. Well. Pretty shamelessly pop. Yeah, can't really make a case for this one. This was a skip track for quite a while, but eventually just gave into it. Really, who doesn't want to be happy given the state of the world? (6/10 this is a prog site after all...)

Trapped in Heaven: A slow starter, but pleasant soundscape, ballad but builds up to big guitar finish. A much needed sharp contrast to the previous track as it is darker and subtly intense. Nice track. (8/10 more proggish again)

Diamonds: Closing song starts as a ballad, seems a bit anticlimactic, although very pretty, but half way in begins picking up intensity, building, building, okay, actually it's pretty great, and a nice finish. (10/10 just because...)

In general, the first half of the album is more creative, proggy, and stimulating, but all in all, I still enjoy playing the whole thing. Given the opening issue of whether it really is prog or at least prog oriented, each person has to decide for themselves. If you like extreme musical meanderings, intense vocals, and darker themes, this is definitely not for you. But if you enjoy a little prog-light occasionally, this is a pleasant cross over that is worth checking out. Guarantee that one or two of the choruses will go home with you.

Total score for me: 98/110 Good enough for 4 stars

SilverLight59 | 4/5 |


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