When I received Godspeed, the third release of the Belgian band Fish On Friday, I was not very pleased. I remembered my review of Shoot To The Moon (2010, see review) very well. In my opinion too poppy music and less symphonic rock. I hoped that four years later the original members William Beckers (keyboards and percussion) and Frank van Bogaert (keyboards, vocals, additional guitars) made progress in their view of progressive rock music. And so it seemed. The new musicians Marty Townsend (guitars, mandolin), Marcus Weymare (drums, percussion) and the well known bass player Nick Beggs (bass guitar, Chapman stick, backing vocals) take the band to a much higher level.
The opening track Godspeed is the longest on the album and goes over the ten minutes limit. It is the first surprise of the new album. After some close harmony singing the up tempo beats brings you directly in an optimistic and happy mood. For me it was a big surprise to hear for the first time that this band has really grown up. It's now a five piece band and not a group of individuals who are playing together for the first time. The various tempo changes kept my ears active throughout the entire track. At the end there is a tasty guitar solo. An excellent opening, I have to admit. On the next track Just A Nightmare is, besides the well sung lyrics by Frank, the main instrument in this up-tempo song the piano. The song sounds like The Moody Blues in their present days. Another compliment deserves sax player Henri Ylen in the final part of this track. The romantic touch of Fish On Friday is presented in the ballad She Colours The Rainbow, in the vein of the best works of Mike & The Mechanics. A little gem is the Ghost Song. It has the same mysterious atmosphere as the early music of The Alan Parsons Project during the time they made albums such as Pyramid (1978) and The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980). Saxophone player Henri is doing a perfect solo again on this piece of music. Slowly the song builds up to a climax like fireworks from the best Chinese artists. Radio starts with some weather messages. On this song Fish On Friday manages to write a happy tune and knows a lot about the classic progressive rock history furthermore. On this song there are the lyrics; “And The Buggles killed the radio stars”. A reference to the big hit for Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes that they made as The Buggles. The title of the hit was of course Video Killed The Radio Stars. Later on both played in Yes when they released Drama (1980). The symphonic rock returns in Sanctuary. This up tempo song has a good guitar solo from Marty. Stay is another classic rock song in the style of a Phil Collins kind of ballad with enough power to stay awake. Also not to be missed is the up tempo piece Don't Leave Me To Death. Fine work from outstanding musicians. As a dessert a variation of a Steve Hackett composition can be heard on the song Tick Tock. The final track on the album is the only one minute long song My Dog and is a hymn to the dog of....
I have to confess that I have underestimated these guys on their first CD. I admire the quality of Godspeed.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2015