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(47:21 / 'Lazy Gun')
TRACK LIST: 1. Motorville 4:55 2. Fly Like a Bird 4:10 3. Nine Months On Fire 5:46 4. Too High For Low Company 4:15 5. All of the People All of the Time 1:22 6. Build Your Own Enemy 5:16 7. God Eat God 3:12 8. Sundried 1:56 9. All Hand Lost 12:26 10. Tinyfish 3:56 LINEUP: Simon Godfrey - vocals; guitars, guitar-synth; drums Jim Sanders - guitars, guitar-synth; vocals Paul Worwood - bass, bass pedals Rob Ramsay - blues harp; narratives
Prolusion. The recording under review is the self-titled debut release by TINYFISH, a quartet from London, United Kingdom, who gathered together for the first time in 2004.
Analysis. In its overall appearance, this recording can be defined as a modern, perhaps mainstream take on classic Neo Prog with elements of Blues, AOR and Heavy Metal, and also a tendency to do nothing during vocal sessions, meaning besides providing basic chords etc. Tinyfish claim their music is inspired by Marillion, King Crimson, Rush and Tom Waits, but personally I don't find even tiny hints of any of the last three reference points here. What I see as the band's key influence is mostly the third stage of the Hogarth-era Marillion and such of their (creatively decadent) albums as "This Strange Engine" and "Radiation" in particular, although similarities are rarely striking. There are also a few exceptions to this rule to be found among the disc's ten tracks, all to be named in due time. The opener, Motorville, reminds me more of a somewhat emasculated interpretation of The King of Sunset Town from "Seasons End", portraying its makers as less daring players than their teachers in absentia, this remark being relevant to the entire creation. Another tune that instantly evokes the Neo Heroes, God Eat God is a quite straightforward rocker in the vein of the title track of "Holiday In Eden". Too High For Low Company is a similar thing, with too few recasts to its three thematic storylines to prod an advanced prog head to revisit it, but it at least alternates sections with harder arrangements with softer passages. There are the requisite ballads for sure: Fly Like a Bird and Build Your Own Enemy are both unvaryingly slow throughout and are even simpler than their perceived prototypes, One Fine Day and Memory of Water from "This Strange Engine". Of the two semi-instrumental pieces, All of the People All of the Time and Tinyfish, both 'stand out' for their soundscapes and narratives, though the title track additionally reveals an interplay between guitar and bass, done clearly in a blues fashion. None of the said compositions challenge the ear, the songs mostly following an intro/ couplet/ refrain/ bridge/ solo mode. When it's time for the instrumental break, one of the two guitarists steps forward as a clear soloist, their closest comparison being to Steve Rothery-on-"Radiation" (where Steve for the first time betrayed his original style - in favor of Blues - and where the entire group appear as if they're really affected with radiation, particularly keyboardist Mark Kelly, who's almost absent there). All in all, there are somewhat more keyboard-related sounds to be found on "Tinyfish" than on the said Marillion's creation, seeing that both guitar players additionally use guitar synths. Nine Months On Fire and All Hand Lost (12:26) both best of all suit the stylistic definition stated in this paragraph's first sentence, the latter semi-epic being a kind of opus magnum for the band to date. This is the sole track here containing several instrumental interludes, some of which are relatively extended, and is in many ways the same for this album as is the title track for "This Strange Engine". Nevertheless, my favorite piece has to be the short Sundried (1:56), only featuring vocals and a guest violin quartet.
Conclusion. Despite any similarities between Tinyfish and Marillion, I wouldn't dare to assert these lads are direct followers of their more famous countrymen, let alone their imitators (partly because their music is mostly affirmative in mood, which is quite a distinguishing feature). Everything they play on their debut outing is mistake-free and tuneful, delivered with a youthful energy. Anyhow, I don't find their music to be challenging enough to enjoy, and I would beware of highly recommending this CD even to fans of conventional Neo Progressive.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: January 28, 2008
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