Fish- Field Of Crows (Chocolate Frog)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. The Field
2. Moving Targets
3. The Rookie
4. Zoo Class
5. The Lost Plot
6. Old Crow
7. Numbers
8. Exit Wound
9. Innocent Party
10. Shot The Craw
11. Scattering Crows



It's out with the old and in with the new for Fish on his new CD, Field of Crows. In this case, though, the new just happen to be old Fish compatriots.

While bassist Steve Vantsis and percussionist Dave Haswell return after playing on 2001's Fellini Days , gone from that disc are its co-writer and guitarist, John Wesley; keyboardist John Young and drummer Dave Stewart. In their places are former Big Country guitarist Bruce Watson, who played on Fish's 1999 effort, Raingods With Zippos ; guitarist Frank Usher, who was on most of Fish's solo works until Raingods ; keyboardist Tony Turrell, who split under bad terms with Fish after the Raingods With Zippos tour and drummer Mark Brzezicki, another former Big Country member who played with Fish in his early solo days.

Of note is that neither Turrell nor Brzezicki were originally involved when work on Field of Crows began. Drummer Jim Drummond and keyboardist Irvin Duguid left during the writing sessions last summer and fortunately for Fish, Turrell and Brzezicki were available to step in. And both truly shine on this disc. While the keyboards were generally very low in the mix on Fellini Days , they stand out on many of the tracks here. Turrell displays some excellent Hammond organ flourishes on "The Rookie," a solid rocker with a pounding rhythm from Brzezicki. Turrell also pens the music on the disc's standout track, "The Lost Plot," which is a piano and synthesizer driven piece with an incredible guitar solo to close out the song. This song is probably the closest that you will come to classic Fish as it wouldn't sound out of place on Raingods With Zippos .

Is that to say the other tracks on this disc aren't in the classic Fish mold? Yes and no. With the changes in lineup, the CD doesn't really sound like any of its predecessors, yet it remains distinctively Fish, due largely to his unique lyrical approach and recognizable voice. Speaking of the vocals, the Scotsman's voice has suffered in recent years from age and overuse, so he has wisely decided to hold back and sing in a range much more accessible   to him. This works quite well throughout with the closing track, "Scattering Crows," being the vocal highlight of the CD, with a subdued yet highly emotive performance.

Musically, Watson co-wrote all but one of the tracks while Turrell and the departed Duguid also receives a number of co-writing credits. Watson's style seems very apparent on tracks like "The Field," which leads off the disc with his pleasant acoustic playing with some tasty electric touches added by Usher in the background, and "Shot The Craw," which features a nice e-bow intro.

Another fine touch on Field of Crows is the heavy use of saxophone and trumpet, played by Steve Hamilton and Richard Sidwell, respectively. Five of the 11 tracks feature brass, but largely in a supporting role. Of these, the song that stands out is the beautiful ballad "Exit Wound." It starts with just guitar and vocals but builds with some nice bass playing by Vantsis and Fender Rhodes from Turrell before the climatic finish which features extended solos from both Sidwell and Hamilton. Quite simply, one of the best ballads that Fish has written in years.

In all, quite a good release from the former Marillion vocalist. While not in the same league as his solo debut, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors , this is definitely a solid outing that shouldn't disappoint.

Oh, before I forget, it would be impossible to discuss A Fish CD without talking about the artwork by long-time associate Mark Wilkinson. The cover, which was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Wheatfields Under Threatening Skies With Crows," is basically Wilkinson painting a similar scene and adding Fish walking in the middle of it. While not necessarily original, it does fit with the overall mood of the disc.  


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ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
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dengue fever- venus on earth
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the who- endless wire
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