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Prog Round-up: February 2015

Geoff Barton on new releases from Fish On Friday, Rubik1138, Vertica, Fruits de Mer and Margin

Fish On Friday: Godspeed

Hailing from the land of Plastic Bertrand (ie Belgium), Fish On Friday specialise in AOR-inflected prog that’s reminiscent of the Alan Parsons Project. But delve beneath the lush instrumentation and you’ll find some bleak musings. She Colours The Rainbow tells the story of a man holding lonely vigil over a comatose girl (‘I’m waiting for her to wake up/Day after day/Year after year’), while Radio is a lament for the Swinging 60s, when ‘there was no hatred and no greed – all we did was pass the weed’.

Still, this is packed to the gills with good stuff, and consummate musicianship is top of the agenda. Dual keyboards come atcha in swathes and the bass of Nick Beggs (Kajagoogoo/Steve Hackett) burbles like a simmering kettle. There’s a delightful closing track in My Dog, a gentle paean to a mutt called Blondie who ‘doesn’t care about my cheesy lyrics’. Next time someone asks you to name a famous Belgian, keep the moniker Fish On Friday up your sleeve. (810)

Rubik1138: Kafkatik Rubik1138 are well worth checking out because 1. They’re Mexican, 2. The band members wear surreal masks, 3. Their name is a combo of Rubik’s Cube and THX 1138, the first film made by George (Star Wars) Lucas, 4. They’ve got a song called Rastaman Chicken, and 5. Instrumental psychedelic rock à la Earthless is el nombre del juego. (710) Vertica: The Haunted South If angsty, female-fronted goth rock with a smidgin of shoegaze is your bag, then Vertica will be your new favourite band. The Wind Has Teeth is a masterful mix of Alcest and Evanescence; Obsidian is austere and spellbinding. Vertica aim to reach out to people isolated by depression, anxiety and self-harm, and with The Haunted South they have created the ideal touchstone. Immense. (910) Various Artists: Postcards From The Deep Only in the mystical Land Of Prog could a boxset such as this exist: 10 flexi-discs and assorted paraphernalia encased within a signature Fruits De Mer ‘clambox’. Obscure cover versions abound, the pick of ’em being Icarus Peel’s theme to The Avengers TV show, which sounds like it was recorded inside a WWII Nissen hut by a heavily intoxicated Ritchie Blackmore. (810) Margin: Psychedelic Teatime