Fish - 'A Feast Of Consequences'

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Fish - 'A Feast Of Consequences'

There's no doubt it is one of 2013s strongest albums.

Unbelievably it has been six years since the enigmatic, charismatic Fish last released a studio album, his '13th Star' opus garnering comments that suggested it was close to being the pinnacle of his excellent solo career. The ups and downs since then, both personal and within his band, have as ever gone some ways to derailing things, however the "Big Man's" recent foray into stripped back acoustic shows, where his voice has been backed solely by acoustic guitar and piano, has seemingly reinvigorated once more the man and his music. 'Feast Of Consequences' is the result and it rivals anything he has been involved with previously.

When Fish finds a topic to fully focus his muse on, he is always at his best and here the album revolves around, but doesn't rely on, 'The High Wood Suite', a collection of five tracks which came into focus as Fish visited World War One battlefields, where afterwards he discovered both of his Grandfathers had fought. Illustrating the futility and stupidity of this war and the bravery of those who served in it, through a range of spoken word sections (if anyone does spoken word as well as Fish, I've yet to hear them), heartfelt vocals, forceful musical passages and emotional restraint, 'High Wood', 'Crucifix Corner', 'The Gathering', 'Thistle Corner' and 'The Leaving' becomes a hugely focused, involving and engrossing experience and one which draws you back time and time again.

Elsewhere the mood is more varied, with long term Fish-ites Steve Vantsis (bass), Robin Boult (guitars), Gavin Griffiths (drums) and Foss Patterson (keyboards) all helping to create moods and emotions alongside the singer. 'The Other Side Of Me' is a classic slow builder, reminiscent of the best of Fish's more recent catalogue, while 'All Loved Up', which ridicules the sad, pathetic b-list celebrity "talent" shows people are obsessed with these days, dances wildly on a rocked up roll of piano and an infectious up-tempo riff, Fish laying to rest the vocal issues he has experienced in years gone by. 'Blind To The Beautiful' on the other hand strips things back to acoustic and piano, with a beautiful vocal reminding of the Fish classic 'Just Good Friends', whereas 'A Feast Of Consequences' and its "It looks like I'm dining alone" refrain takes a surprisingly heavy and uplifting approach to break-ups. That leaves the bookends to the album, with opener 'Perfume River' being a scintillating build from atmospheric spoken word and strings to all out Rock, and closer 'The Great Unravelling' where the album's recurring female vocal guest Liz Antwi combines beautifully with Fish to reveal a wonderful emotional waltz that only this artist could create.

With 'A Feast Of Consequences' Fish has continued the rich vein of form he rediscovered with '13th Star' (not that what came before was under-par). However I'd go as far as to suggest he's bettered it here and there's no doubt it is one of 2013s strongest albums.

Steven Reid

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