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Fish On Friday: Quiet Life

As the buzz around these Belgian prog rockers grows louder and louder so Fish On Friday seek to live, through their fourth album, the Quiet Life. Wherever the band have holed up in hope of escaping the every day hustle bustle, they sure ain't afraid to invite round their friends. Bassist Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson/The Mute Gods) is now thoroughly ensconced as a full band member, but with Theo Travis lending his inimitable sax and flute touch where the need arises and a certain Alan Parsons providing backing vocals and producing one song, it's fair to suggest FoF have some influential acquaintances.

Some may call what this outfit do crossover prog, however with most bands adding supplementary elements to their progressive roots these days, it's a bigger challenge to spot non crossover prog rock albums, than it is the other way round. In that sense Quiet Life is, therefore, quite unremarkable and yet, with their poppy overtones suggesting Alan Parsons (natch), or maybe a less quirky Supertramp on a relaxed day all wrapped up in Floydian sweeps of atmosphere, it certainly makes its remarkable presence felt. With the likes of "Beautiful" swaying along on the easy crescendos Steven Wilson can often bring to his music and adding an almost Rothery like guitar solo, there are also more than enough proggy meanders to satisfy the less ardent end of that market. Frank Van Bogaert possesses a smoothly enigmatic vocal style and as such adds as many layers and textures as he does out and out focal points, his contributions often leading from the front, but equally beguiling when they drift deeper into the music itself. The title track proves that Fish On Friday can also add a brooding darkness to their attack and while you'd hardly call it challenging, there's no denying that the ability to combine memorable motifs to rolling guitars is hugely impressive. That it's all done with a keen eye on keeping everything accessible, is clever indeed. Travis's flute work and the Tony Banks like keys from William Beckers on "MH-17" allowing a Hackett-less but not yet chart fixated Genesis sound to spring to mind. Although in many ways as much of this album does it's often RPWL mixed with Magenta that is left as the strongest and most welcome aftertaste. For many it will be the synth heavy "In The Key Of Silence" that proves the biggest draw, Parsons' production hand steering the good ship FoF and bringing a decidedly different, but similar slant to proceedings. This more melodically inclined outing is an album highlight, although whether it truly fits in snuggly with the other tracks presented here, I'm not quite so sure, although there's no denying its class.

This is my first encounter with Fish On Friday. If this easy but invigorating style is how they've always chosen to mark their territory, then it looks like they've convinced me that I too should soon be living the Quiet Life.

Track Listing
7. MH 17

Added: May 22nd 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Quiet Life at Cherry Red
Hits: 1852
Language: english

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