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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Fish

Yin

Review by Gary Hill

Along with the companion CD "Yang", this album contains many rarities, reworkings ad other items of interest from Fish's career. This one is especially noteable because of the appearance of Steve Howe (Fish's take on "Time and a Word") and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band ("Boston Tea Party").

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Incommunicado
Fish's solo take on this Marillion number doesn't vary too much from the original. That's a good thing as it's energetic powerhouse nature remains intact.
Family Business
This poignant track about child and domestic abuse is a powerful one. It makes for one of the best cuts on the disc. The track is essentially a balladic prog cut, but it gets very strong and a bit hard-edged at times. This is one that feels a lot like Marillion. The bass work on this one really stands out.
Just Good Friends
A recording featuring Sam Brown, musically this one doesn't vary much from the original, but it is a very poignant ballad here, as well. It comes across as a bit more immediate in this rendition, and the duet nature is very interesting.
Pipeline
This one is from the energetic Fish solo school. It has a bouncy texture and feels just a bit like one segment of The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" at times.
Institution Waltz
Yes, it really is a waltz, and a strange one at that. This is a fun, off-kilter and unusual piece.
Tongues
Always a favorite Fish number, this fairly hard-edged mid-tempo cut is one of the standout tracks on the CD. The vocal performance here steals the show. The arrangement gets interesting in an electronic symphonic mode.
Time And A Word
Fish covers the early Yes cut. Interestingly enough, Steve Howe guests on the track. That is a bit ironic since although Howe's picture adorns the US release of Yes' second album (for which the song is the title cut) original Yes guitarist Peter Banks was the guitar man on that recording. Still the combination of guitarist and vocalist makes for a solid performance that seems to fall somewhere between Yes' original recording and their later arrangement, while still feeling updated. It gets rather energetic and bit bouncy at times.
Company
With a true Celtic texture (particularly in the intro), this is a very personal sounding and moody balladic number. It is a strong track from both the lyrical and vocal perspective.
Incubus
This Marillion classic track takes on a very different texture here. It feels somewhat stripped down and quite percussive. The change does it proud, and this version holds up right next to the original. The instrumental break feels a bit more classic prog than the original did, and the balladic segments feel more immediate here, partly because the lyrics are easier to hear on this take. It drops to a full on piano solo here, and although the cut feels a bit less cohesive, one can truly gain a new understanding of the number from this version.
Solo
This is a fairly typical Fish progish ballad.
Favourite Stranger
This re-recording of "Favourite Stranger" feels a bit more moody and atmospheric, but, like the original, is a very strong piece.
Boston Tea Party
Recorded with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, this rocker is quite a raucous one. It is almost a metal number (especially on the guitar solo) and a lot of fun.
Raw Meat
A cut that starts as a poignant ballad ends the album. This one gets quite involved and rather complex and rocks out quite well at points.
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