FISH: Raingods With Zippos (Roadrunner)

Ex-Marillion lead vocalist Fish has never had the following here in the US as he does elsewhere. Prog fans know who he is, but unfortunately, that's about it. On his latest effort, Fish takes his music yet another step forward, mixing crunchy guitar riffs with tender ballads, drum 'n bass, ambient soundscapes, and everything in between. This is one of those albums that require a few listens to really appreciate. It's not something that you're going to love the first time you hear it. However, after two or three listens, you just might. It's albums like this that tend to make more of a lasting impression.

"Tumbledown" gets the disc off to a good start with its pensive piano intro, and then the vocals are ushered in with abstract power chords. "Mission Statement" has a real catchy riff on the chorus, and is the most commercial sounding track on the disc. But the real tour-de-force is the six-part "Plague of Ghosts." This ambitious 25-minute suite covers the entire musical spectrum and ranks among the best things Fish has written. Raingods With Zippos probably isn't going to win Fish any new fans (newbies should check out Fish's recent 'best of' CD, Kettle of Fish), but it's required listening for existing ones.

© 1999 Steve Marshall