Tinyfish had to call a close on live performances last year due to front man Simon Godfrey's continuing hearing problems. However, it did not stop him going ahead and fulfilling a personal dream by recording and releasing a solo album with a little help from his closest friends
Rise Up Forgotten, Returned Destroyed is the finished result, released on the newly formed Bad Elephant Music label and co-written with Godfrey's long time friend and musical collaborator, Robert Ramsay.
Rather than being the next chapter of The Big Red Spark (2010, see review), Godfrey has completely changed his groove and, through Shineback, he has entered techno territory, a long term passion of his and the result is quite stunning.
Its storyline concerns a young girl called Dora who goes on a journey, recording her dreams, encountering strange and eerie characters en route. Dora is played by Danny Claire, a Bulgarian dance singer whose original samples are included as blogs on the album and around which Godfrey developed the story and instrumentation.
Lasting more than an hour, the album crackles with a vibrant energy, Godfrey playing most of the instrumental parts apart from his characteristic guitar which he leaves to an elite group of players such as Matt Stevens, Andy Ditchfield (DeeExpus), Dec Burke and his sidekick Hywel Bennett. Other guest players include the omnipresent Henry Rogers on drums and Paul Worwood, Tinyfish's bassist who appears as a narrator.
Opening with the dreamy sequence of May You Live In Interesting Times, this is very much an adventure in modern recording, its foundations comprising big meaty rhythms and synthy poppy keyboards.
Stand-out tracks include Bedlam Days which goes hell for leather and emotional Faultlines, Godfrey's voice sounding deliciously vulnerable. Crush Culture is a wonderful throwback to the golden days of 70s glam rock and highly danceable.
Pt 2 continues to delight and astound as Godfrey continues to show his unique songwriting gifts and ear for an original melody, such as on Passengers, which somehow combines a retro/futuristic feel.
Danny Claire comes into her own on I Called Him In Vain, which has such an air of desolation, you want to seek her out and bring her home. Xo Va Yu conjures up the heady days of Japan with its slightly Eastern vibe and there are also echoes of XTC and King Crimson which come to the fore at certain junctures.
The title track, the longest on the album, is a real tour de force on which each of the whole ensemble plays a part. It is an epic slice of techno prog that twists and turn as each player steps up to the plate to deliver.
Co-produced by Tim Lawrie from the Bad Elephant team, there will be no other prog album quite like this one this year and that is how Godfrey wants it to be. One of the most important and ground-breaking albums of the year.
**** Alison Henderson
Where to buy?
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