Fish


Internal Exile

Fish - Internal Exile ©1992 Polydor
1. Shadowplay
2. Credo
3. Just Good Friends (close)
4. Favourite Stranger
5. Lucky
6. Dear Friend
7. Tongues
8. Internal Exile
9. Something In The Air

The fact is that when a band loses a very notable singer and frontman, you're going to have two camps that are lesser as parts than as a whole. Fish (a.k.a. Derek Dick) left Marillion in 1988 due to various reasons and while both Fish and his former band have put out some interesting records, none of them are quite as wonderful as when the two sides were together.

Internal Exile is a mixed bag that shows Fish is still intact as a dramatic and moving singer. When he's hot, he's as fiery as any madman with a microphone; but when he's not, he's just another pop singer with some melancholy lyrics to share. The best tracks on the album are those that employ a Celtic feel, such as the opening track "Shadowplay", the title track or "Something in the Air" (which actually reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel's Us). Both bouncy and punchy, this shows Fish in prime form. Some of the slower tracks do indeed drag on a bit, though in the case of "Just Good Friends (Close)", the lyrical ability of Fish makes them at least interesting in some aspect. As "Tongues" demonstrates, Fish is still at his pinnacle when he's doing the most dramatic, Marillion-esque music. Any Marillion fan will want to check this out, but it does make you wish grown men in bands could do a better job of getting along.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1998


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Acoustic Session

Fish - Acoustic Session ©1994 Dick Bros. Record Co.
1. Lucky
2. Internal Exile
3. Kayleigh
4. Fortunes Of War
5. Dear Friend
6. Sugar Mice
7. Somebody Special
8. Jumpsuit City
9. Lady Let It Lie

Fish's solo career since leaving Marillion in the late 80s has been a rather spotty endeavor with one of the more unusual discographies that I can think of. Quite a few fan club live discs are in circulation as well as a few oddities such as this "unplugged" album, appropriately called Acoustic Session. Taking nine tracks from both his solo years and days with Marillion, Fish leads his band on a fairly spirited romp through the songs. While nothing is significantly added to the music beyond the fact that the songs are played acoustically, this is a pretty decent bonus prize for Fish fans. Certain songs, such as the already folkish "Internal Exile" or the already morose "Sugar Mice", are benefitted by the acoustic treatment, while on others the treament neither adds or subtracts from the songs. Fish's solo career hasn't been entirely marked with great albums; rather his music has been somewhat plagued by a certain amount of filler material. And unfortunately that is what makes Fish solo albums not the most exciting packages to pick up. Acoustic Session is a good time but by the same token it isn't the kind of album you want to throw on more than occasionally.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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Yin

Fish - Yin ©1995 Dick Bros. Record Co.
1. Incommunicado
2. Family Business
3. Just Good Friends
4. Pipeline
5. Institution Waltz
6. Tongues
7. Time & A Word
8. Company
9. Incubus
10. Solo
11. Favourite Stranger
12. Boston Tea Party
13. Raw Meat

Yin represents one half of a two part collection (those who can guess the title of the other half get a shiny new dime as a prize) that compiles album tracks, re-recorded versions of old Marillion tunes and new versions of old Fish songs. As stated in my earlier observations of Fish's solo works and post-Fish Marillion, it's sometimes too bad that the two camps couldn't stick together. Fish's solo work has always been pleasant like a warm summer evening, but it misses that extra touch, such as the spiked glass of lemonade on a porch on that warm summer evening. Fish was at least kind enough to re-record a couple of my all time favorite Marillion tracks, "Incommunicado" and "Incubus". The new versions aren't terribly different than the original, so the point is a bit missed. Possibly the best track is "Institution Waltz", which borders on something the Legendary Pink Dots might have done. All in all, Yin is an okay compilation that at least offers hardcore fans something besides completely rehashed material.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/1999

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Krakow

Fish - Krakow ©1996 Dick Bros. Record Co.
CD one:
1. Black Canal
2. Jumpsuit City
3. Big Wedge
4. Emperor's Song
5. Lady Let It Lie
6. Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors
7. Shadowplay (medley)
8. Fugazi
9. Slainthe Mhath
CD two:
10. Credo
11. Kayleigh
12. Pipeline
13. Incommunicado
14. Internal Exile
15. Lucky
16. Lavendar
17. Boston Tea Party

From what I understand, this two CD live set is a fan-club release for Fish, who apparently has quite the little cult following. To be fully honest, there is nothing that is going to revolutionize live albums or necessarily appeal to those who aren't already quite enamored with the man's music. The setlist features a selection of tracks that is sure to please rabid fans (in this case, fans from the Polish city mentioned in the title), including a few choice cuts from the Marillion era ("Kayleigh" and "Incommunicado", done faithfully by his new backing band). The performance is nothing spectacular, but it is done unerringly. Fish's voice is in fine form, though there are a couple instances where he can't quite reach a high note (most notable in "Slainthe Mhath"). Probably the only real flaw is that Fish's solo work has generally been spotty. His albums always contain at least a few great songs but much of his work comes across as filler and the live album has some of that. Attendence at this particular show is obviously a better experience than just listening to this double CD. Regardless of it not being the most demanding of purchases, anyone who, as I do, has a fond spot for Fish and his music should look for it anyhow.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2000

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Raingods With Zippos

Fish - Raingods With Zippos ©1999 Roadrunner
1. Tumbledown
2. Mission Statement
3. Incomplete
4. Tilted Cross
5. Faithhealer
6. Rites Of Passage
7. (I) Old Haunts
8. (II) Digging Deep
9. (III) Chocolate Frogs
10. (IV) Waving At Stars
11. (V) Raingod's Dancing
12. (VI) Wake-up Call (Make It Happen)

Within one listen to Raingods with Zippos, I finally have reclaimed my faith in Fish's ability to perform incredible music on par with his long past days with Marillion. Fish's past albums have always had their share of great songs, but also seemed to suffer from mediocre material or songs that acted as filler only. But here Fish seems to have finally summoned up the songwriting god within himself to write a full, complete album that is satisfying from beginning to end. A lot of musical territory is covered here from somewhat folkish ballads such as "Tilted Cross" to gospel flavored uptempo rockers like "Mission Statement". There is also a cover of "Faithhealer", which incidentally was also covered by Foetus awhile back. Fish's version is very strong as well. The latter half of the album is an adventurous multi-part song that serves as one of the most interesting things the man has written in awhile. While the individual sections cover a lot of musical territory, there is a cohesion to the whole thing that culminates exceptionally well on "Wake-up Call (Make It Happen"). Overall Raingods is a strong rock record that has some sense of progressive music but wisely focuses on Fish's voice and ability to write good music. Definitely something people should pick up.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/1999

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