What does it sound like?:
Two more releases in this excellent series of reissues from Fish, this time originating in 1993 and 1994 respectively.
The first, Songs From The Mirror, is a set of cover versions in the vein of Bowie’s Pin Ups. I’ve always liked this album, even if there are no huge surprises in the track choices, given the era Fish grew up in and his diet of UK prog and rock. Thus we get, for example, tracks by The Moody Blues, Genesis, Floyd and Yes on the prog front, and Argent, SAHB, Bowie and The Who among others, representing the rock fraternity. Fish doesn’t try and do anything too radical in his takes on these songs, sticking fairly close to the originals while putting in just enough of his own influence to make a difference. The only slight misstep is Apeman by The Kinks – an odd choice to say the least given their extensive and excellent back catalogue.. The two extra tracks from the reissue of a few years back are both included, together with the song Caledonia which originally appeared on the Frankie Miller tribute album. Alas there’s no appearance for the studio recording of Something In The Air, although it is available as a bonus track on the Internal Exile album, but a live version does show up on the second cd, which collects live versions of most of these tracks, which are likeable enough without really being essential listening. A real find though is the third disc in this set, a dvd, which as well as having more live material and a couple of promo videos, has an excellent in depth interview with Fish about the making of this album. As ever, he’s on great form as a raconteur and the generously timed ninety-minute piece flies by.
The second reissue is the Suits album from 1994. I remember being a bit disappointed with this on first hearing it as it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. However, repeated plays and perseverance led to an eventual change in my opinion. This is not really a prog album, being more of the type of pop oriented music the likes of Peter Gabriel and Tears For Fears were producing in the eighties, and as such it took a little getting used to. It’s still maybe not one of his strongest works, but songs like Fortunes Of War, Pipeline and the epic Raw Meat still stand out, and it’s good to see the inclusion of the two bonus tracks from the ‘original’ reissue, particularly the seedy, atmospheric Black Canal. The second cd has demos from the two years preceding the release of the album, capturing the songs in various stages of development, while the third disc captures his band of the time in fine form. A special mention for the first class booklet accompanying this release, in which Fish goes into great detail about the background to and creation of the album, and its aftermath.
These two albums are great additions to this already superb series of reissues personally curated by Fish, with comprehensive selections of bonus tracks, live material and demos. Throw in a top quality booklet with each set, containing super informative interviews, essays, lyrics and the like, combined with top notch packaging and presentation, and this series can easily hold it’s head up in comparison, say, with the standard setting Tull rereleases.
What does it all *mean*?
These two releases go some way to filling the gap as Fish continues to work on his next, and apparently final, album.
Goes well with…
Contemplating what musical direction Marillion would have followed had Fish remained in the band.
Might suit people who like…