For those of you who are not familiar with Fish, he is the guy that sang Kayleigh with the band Marillion. After leaving them, he started a solo career, and this was his first, and to some best effort. Luckily for him he got off on a good start as the song A Gentleman´s Excuse Me was a bit of a hit here and there. And rightly so as it is a beautiful ballad like song with a great lyric. Which is common to Fish, as he takes big pride in writing those.
Another track on here that was heavily rotated on MTV at the time (when it was still a rock channel, where are those days) is Big Wedge. Uptempo, upbeat and overall a cool symphonic rock track showcasing the man´s talent. But there is more on here worthy of your undivided attention. Opener Vigil starts atmospheric and then develops in a sound akin´his former band. It´s chorus is catchy as autumn flu! State Of Mind is a slow brooding song with fabulous bass courtesy of once Simple Mind John Giblin. On drums we find Big Country´s Mark Brzezicki, on keys Micky Simmonds and the guitars are handled by Frank Usher and Hal Lindes. Other guests are Janick Gers, Tessa Niles and Kick Horns.
The track The Company would later be the name giver to Fish´s fanclub. Tracks like The Voyeur, View From The Hill and Cliché are other examples of a Fish at his symphonic and rocking best. Family Business is another slow song with a lot of feel, and as chilling as Gentleman’s Excuse. An album to own and a great joy to revisit every once in a while…
In my humble opinion this is one of the most overlooked bands from that time frame. While they became very popular with the in-crowd, success was never big enough. And this album is proof why that is a criminal mistake. It is quite a challenge to find an AOR or melodic rock album that has the same quality and drive. Must have been a momentum thing as grunge was hitting the shores already. And hitting hard.
But this album is awesome in so many aspects: from the warm voice of lead singer David Forbes, the instrumentation from Randy Gould on guitars, Mark Holden on sax, Andrew John on keyboards, Tom Christiansen on bass and Randal Stoll on drums, to the crisp production of John Punter. Massive backing vocals, enough bite and power, and most important: songs that nest themselves in your system and lever let go.
Opener Talk To Me is a perfect example of what the band is capable of. Up tempo and uplifting, with great melodies and musicianship to be able to attract even the most spoiled listener. Song Where Is The Love is moodier, but has a gorgeous chorus and again some very fitting soloing. Next is Lead Me On, with a great drive and a chorus on par with the rest. Even so early in the record it is obvious how special this CD is. And let me tell you, the other songs are just as good. No wonder that it was re-released last year. Original copies were selling for big bucks over the internet, and that is understandable (while selling your copy is hard to fathom actually). So take that opportunity if you missed it first time around and add it to your collection! Classic in every sense.
This album has been playing it’s rounds in my car past week. The great thing about it is the feel good vibe it spreads. Whether you like it or not, this stuff is so uplifting, you will find yourself smiling and humming all day long after being exposed to it.
Singer Freddy Curci made name before with the band Sheriff (remember When I’m With You?). Made me wonder if that is where the star on the front cover originates from…
Opener Say What I Wanna Say, immediately sets the mood. A guitar solo over a rocking riff, followed by the spell binding vocals of Curci and a chorus that is as catchy as the flu in autumn. Haunted Heart takes over and kicks back a little. Just to hit back with another great chorus. Waiting For Love is a mid tempo rock ballad in the vein of Whitesnake’s Is It Love. Yet the chorus is more AOR with big harmony vocals.
Next track The Power is one of my favourites. Larded with slide guitar solo´s, it rocks but keeps the melodies alive and breathing. Ahh, to be able to write and sing such lines… Heroes is the first really slow song that builds to another chorus that grabs you. What To Do picks up the pace again and is a rocker of the same level as the album openers.
About half way through you will get the picture. A lovely melodic rock album with great songs and players and the under appreciated vocals of mister Curci. Very well worth the money and time!