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Scottish singer-songwriter “Fish” returns with a genuinely captivating effort titled “Raingods With Zippos”. A cult hero of sorts, Fish is known for his work with the band “Marillion” which at times was scrutinized for its seemingly blatant musical resemblance to the renowned prog-rock band, “Genesis”. Since then Fish has released several worthy solo recordings that showcase his distinct vocal abilities.
Let it be stated, that “Raingods With Zippos” is refreshing, wonderfully produced and an audiophile’s treat. The opening track “Tumbledown” commences with a delightful and unassuming piano introduction by Tony Turrell, which segues into an abrupt onslaught of crunching guitar chords, thunderous rhythms and engaging melodies. Memorable choruses from the powerful vocal chords of Fish make this track a winner. On “Incomplete”, we are treated to an anthemic love song of sorts as Fish trades pleasant verses with vocalist Elisabeth Antwi. Here, lovers speculate on love lost as the emotional elements are passionately intimated. Alex Harvey’s “Faithhealer” is a straight up rocker as guitarist Steve Wilson’s engaging utilization of upper-range chord progressions and concise thematic statements are supported by String Arrangements that compliment rather than dominate. Here, Fish’ vocals ride atop a huge wall of sound with the added treat of Davey Crichton’s somewhat manic violin solo. Play this one loud!
Fish’ “Plague Of Ghosts” is a six part concept piece which rekindles memories of the old and much beloved British Canterbury Scene as Fish’ vocals invoke many shapes and colors whether deeply melodic, dream-like or probing. Again, the production and musical support is superb as the listener is treated to richly textured melodies, intelligent use of electric/acoustic keyboards, samples and strings. Many of these compositions are strong contenders for radio airplay.
“Raingods With Zippers” is about class as all the material presented here holds its own after repeated listens. Fish sings with conviction while displaying a gutsy attitude that exudes sheer power and determination. ****
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.