Fish - Field Of Crows album review

Triple-disc reissue of one of Fish’s overlooked gems.

Fish - Field Of Crows album artwork

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Though underrated and overlooked on its release in 2003, time has been kind to Fish’s Field Of Crows. Though there was much to like about 2001’s Fellini Days, Field Of Crows sounded like the work of man who’d just discovered his mojo kicking back in. Judging by some of the subject matter, his personal life was still as ruinous and troubled as a Michael Bolton ballad, but broken hearts are the grist to Fish’s peculiar mill and he made heartache fly in songs like the trembling Exit Wound and the down-at-heel Shot The Craw.

That came as no surprise on a Fish album, though what did was the singer’s newly-found strut. Funk and horns rattled the album’s songs, Fish rapped and scatted like David Lee Roth, if the Van Halen singer had ever spent time in Leith, rhythm was at the album’s heart and its trump card.

He sang too, in fact, he thundered, especially in a song like Innocent Party, showcasing Fish at his lambasting best: ‘Don’t talk to me about justice, freedom, truth and democracy’ he remonstrates.

The only thing that perhaps hampered Field Of Crows’ progress on its initial release was the curiously underwhelming mix, but even that’s been addressed (or was originally in 2014) by Chris Kimsey’s handiwork: the album positively booms.

As with the ongoing Fish reissues campaign that launched last November, this one has extra discs of demos and live material. Sadly, the demos number only three this time around, but Fish’s extensive liner notes (a 48-page booklet made for each new reissue) on every song gives an industrial-strength insight into how each made the transition from notebooks and rehearsal spaces to studio and stage.

It’s another snapshot of Fish’s still evolving musical story – a new album is expected this November before he hangs his hat up – and one image that maybe we should have all lingered a little longer over at the time.

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.