In my opinion it's sad, but nevertheless true that Fish has only made one great album, namely his debut called Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors (1990) and − let me be fair − one rather nice record called Field Of Crows (2004). All the other ones are rather mediocre rock albums on which this Scottish singer repeats himself over and over again. Furthermore I have to say that his voice, especially live on stage of course, has become less interesting. Fish can't reach the higher notes any longer; his voice shows serious signs of wear...
The new album A Feast Of Consequences has an acoustic approach and that's what bothers me most as the bulk of the eleven new songs are packed with acoustic guitar passages and melodies. People who read my reviews regularly know that I'm not a fan − euphemistically speaking − of acoustic guitar based songs, or so-called unplugged stuff. The album opens with a long track called Perfume River of which the first three minutes are filled with dull piano and acoustic guitar parts. After six minutes you'll hear some electric guitar and then the song becomes more up-tempo. All Loved Up sounds very familiar and is an up-tempo symphonic pop-like track with a sing-along chorus, although it never stuck in my mind.
Blind To The Beautiful is a boring semi-acoustic ballad with the additional nothingness of violin parts. The title track sounds like a follow-up to the previous song and is again kind of mediocre. Finally we reach the only good song on the album, namely High Wood Suite which is divided into five parts of which Crucifix Corner and Thistle Alley are the absolute highlights. The first one shines with great guitar riffs, musical diversity, good singing by Fish and a melodic guitar solo. The second features great guitar hooks and melodies and sounds dark and rather mysterious. Why didn't Fish record more songs like this? The final tracks The Other Side Of Me and The Great Unravelling again contain lots of piano, acoustic guitar parts and the well-known Fish melodies and vocal passages.
Well, in conclusion I must say that A Feast Of Consequences is again a disappointing album, although many reviews I've read were very positive. Some critics even called it the best album Fish has ever recorded! I beg to differ as 27 minutes of good music in the High Wood Suite don't make an entire album great!
** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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