Fish - Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors

Album cover

  1. Vigil (8:47)
  2. Big Wedge (5:25)
  3. State of Mind (4:45)
  4. The Company (4:09)
  5. A Gentleman's Excuse Me (4:18)
  6. The Voyeur (I Like To Watch) (4:40)
  7. Family Business (5:14)
  8. View from the Hill (6:40)
  9. Cliché (7:01)

EMI, 1989

also by Fish:

see also... Marillion

Fish didn't take long to make his first solo album after leaving Marillion. It was accused of sounding too much like his former band, but that's a misguided view. Mostly co-written with the otherwise unknown Mickey Simmonds, it might have the familiar pomp-rock spirit in places, starting confidently with the enormous title track. This 9 minute piece is packed with tunes, a rousing Queen-like chorus, and a spooky unexpected finish.

But Marillion fans had certainly never heard the likes of the tootling horns of the poppy "Big Wedge", a standard rant against American commercialism. And not even "Lavender" was as soppy as the ballad "A Gentleman's Excuse Me". Which has a pretty tune, attractively wordy lyrics, and is decorated with a slushy string arrangement. With "The Company" Fish was starting to find his own songwriting voice, a sincere Scots-flavoured soft rock. The most original inspiration here is "The Voyeur", twisting the tootling girly-chorus pop of "Big Wedge" into something more sinister.

The pleasingly podgy "View from the Hill" has a guest guitar and songwriting spot from Iron Maiden's Janick Gers. But Fish pulls out all the sentimental stops for the grand finale "Cliché". A plain old love song at heart, he whips up a haunting riff and simple lyrical idea into a gloopy symphonic whirl. Nothing to be ashamed of, just an honestly good song, and a strong start to Fish's solo career.

September 18, 2004

8 out of 10

see also...

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson