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Chris Squire - Fish Out Of Water CD (album) cover

FISH OUT OF WATER

Chris Squire

 

Symphonic Prog

3.94 | 386 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars Given the sad departure of the one and only CHRIS SQUIRE (4 March 1948 - 27 June 2015), bassist extraordinaire and key figure to the most dominant forces amongst early British progressive rock bands, i find it appropriate to remember this musical genius not by the band that he spearheaded into superstardom and mega-classic status, but to pay respect by reviewing his one and only progressive solo album outside of Yes. True, he did a Christmas album much later, so i guess he technically has two solo albums. FISH OUT OF WATER came out the year after Yes' "Relayer" album and tour. The band had just gotten off of a whirlwind of a five year run with one classic album and tour after another and they opted to take a well-deserved break. With this restless bunch of talent lurking about, it was only inevitable that each member would channel their attention to the solo projects that didn't quite fit into the Yes scheme of things.

Well, not really. It seems all the Yes solo projects weren't a terribly distant musical expression from the musical mothership and CHRIS SQUIRE was probably the one whose solo project reminds the most of Yes, especially the opening track and lead single "Hold Out Your Hand." The fact that this album sounds so much like Yes is testament to CHRIS' instrumental role in being the backbone to its very sound and was in fact the only member to be on every single studio album the band released (it's apparent who owned the Yes name given the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe projects). FISH OUT OF WATER is clearly a CHRIS SQUIRE project with his classic Rickenbacker bass sound and unmistakable progressive rock style that no one else could ever come to duplicating exactly. This album includes a huge cast of primo musicians helping out including Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel, Alan Parsons Project), Jimmy Hastings (Soft Machine, Caravan, Hatfield and the North etc), fellow Yes members Bill Bruford on drums and Patrick Moraz on synths and organs and Andrew Pryce Jackman from SQUIRE's former band The Syn.

FISH OUT OF WATER consists of only five tracks with two being over the eleven minute mark. CHRIS himself handles vocals on this one, which for better or worse is one of the biggest flaws of this album, at least for me. His style is to imitate his close ally Jon Andersen in style, however he doesn't quite have enough strength in the old wind pipes to come close to pulling it off. Luckily a big chunk of the longer tracks are extended progressive rock workouts which sound very much like they could have been leftover tracks from the "Relayer" album at times. "Silently Falling" is probably my favorite track where delightful flute led rock builds into a progressive frenzy and ratchets down again through many movements. "Lucky Seven" is a bona fide jazz-rock fusion and probably sounds the most distant from any Yes album but then again there's that giveaway baseline that links the projects. "Safe (Canon Song)" is the other lengthy track and is also a favorite. It has a beautifully orchestrated progressive ending that wends and winds notes and rhythms and harmonies in super cool ways.

The album is heavily orchestrated at times even tends to overdo it. The musicianship is outstanding and there is lots of jamming where band members feed off of each other into musical frenzies that peak and trough. It's all very pleasant stuff to say the least. This album is only a recent purchase that just happened to find its way into my hands a mere few weeks before CHRIS SQUIRE's unfortunate passing from acute erythroid leukemia. I have not had a lot of time to really let this one sink in, but have listened enough to get a good sense of what's going on. I was wanting to like this one a lot more given all the lofty praise heaped upon it but i did find it somewhat disappointing overall. It is a very decent album for sure, but as mentioned CHRIS SQUIRE was no vocalist, at least not an extremely gifted one. That knocks a whole star off for me. The music is much better and i wish this had been an instrumental album or at least had several guest vocalists take over the lyrical duties. Despite it all, the music is quite good and this is definitely an enjoyable album if you can put the vocals aside. There also could have been a greater effort to distance the album's overall sound from a Yes album as well. Overall an album worth hearing from one of the greatest bass players and progressive rock giants ever to have lived. He has left a wealth of music for all time and will live on throughout generations to come. R.I.P. Chris, you will surely be missed by all.

3.5 stars but rounded up for sure. This is CHRIS SQUIRE we're talking about!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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