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***** Fish -- Sunsets on Empire

Wow. Fish has been struggling of late with two less than stellar releases following the somewhat disappointing "Internal Exile" and the departure of Mickey Simmonds as co-writer. Toss in the "Accoustic Sessions" and "Yin" and "Yang" greatest hits, and you've got a pretty solid run of discs that some would say are not up to Fish's par. Now this -- one of the best cds I've ever heard. Planned for several years, Fish lined up Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson to co-write and do most of the keyboards. The result is a biting album which equals anything Fish has done, solo or with Marillion. Much heavier on the guitar than usual, Floydish keyboards, and a firmer foundation in general rock and roll than progressive. "Brother 52", the first single, is a very catchy track about a Marillion/Fish fan who was gunned down in some sort of battle in the US. There's a couple of less interesting accoustic tracks, but Fish has never sounded better. With luck, a summer tour of the US will be forthcoming and we can see some of this stuff live. Nice job, Fish. (Update: Sunsets on Empire has been released in the US on Viceroy. The US version contains the "Brother 52" tattoo video in QuickTime format, and replaced "The Perception of Johnny Punter" with a sanitized version which removes racial epitets from the first couple of lines. If you're in the US (or Canada, I suppose), get the domestic release! The tour is on, and I expect to see Fish in Milwaukee ("I was flicking through the channels on the tv...") mid-August.

Reviews by A. D. Jensen
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