On the 25th of September 2013 the deluxe editions of A Feast of Consequences, the new album from Fish should start be posted out… The standard CD and download are available now. The deluxe editions should have been shipped by now, but a disastrous experience with the printers has meant that they’re delayed.
By way of appeasement Fish decided to send out a download code for a 24 bit FLAC version of the album to everyone who pre-ordered the deluxe version. This placed me in a bit of a quandary… I’d purposely avoided all the soundbites and videos about the album to keep the surprise on first listen intact until I had my grubby paws on the 100 page book full of Mark and Julie Wilkinson’s artwork, the CD and bonus DVD. One of the things that made me plump for the deluxe version was the enhanced ‘book’ in which the CD would be ensconced. I’ve been in thrall of Mark Wilkinson’s art since the first time I saw a piece of it as cover artwork on a 12 inch single way, way back. The indecision lasted all of about 5 minutes, and two or three other fans’ posts on Facebook.
I downloaded the FLACs over the painfully slow 3G dongle link here in Kenya and started to play it at about 23:30 on the 4th of September. I haven’t stopped playing it since, it’s the only CD I currently have in my Land Cruiser, and it’s on every music playing device I own.
A Feast of Consequences is the first Fish studio album to be released in almost exactly 6 years (13th Star was released on 6th September 2007 I believe?). As with another band’s recent output I’d become somewhat disenchanted with the previous 2-3 releases with both Field of Crows and 13th Star, while having some outstanding tracks, leaving me cold as complete albums (my preferred way to listen to music). I’d read most, if not all, of the blogs and news updates about this new album and, despite myself, was infected by the positive vibe coming from the man himself. Artists often describe their latest offering as the best they’ve ever done, but for Fish to say that this was, in his opinion, the best material he had recorded in this entire career (I hoped) really did mean the bar had been raised.
The album is made up of 11 tracks of which the centre piece is the The High Wood Suite, a 5 track piece inspired by a battle in World War One in which both of Fish’s Grandfathers served. This has caused many to make comparisons with this album and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. I couldn’t disagree more. The Wall was a political statement (among other things) woven around the memories of a child’s recollection of the impact that losing his father in World War Two had on his life. The High Wood Suite is a story, a factually based story, centred around a location which saw bitter fighting during the Battle of the Somme. There is, quite simply, no comparison.
The music on the album is far more organic than on the previous one, there’s a rawness which mirrors much of the lyrical content. It seems that much has been learned by Fish during his Fishhead’s acoustic tours about both his voice and the power of ‘less is more’. Don’t get me wrong the album still has balls, and some of the heavier sections of songs are really powerful, but the overall feeling is far more laid back than you would assume. And it’s all the better for it.
I’ll write a review of the album in due course (I need to let it bed in more) but in the meantime I think it’s suffice to say that it’s the best album released by Fish in at least a decade, and possibly longer. It’s worth the entry fee for The High Wood Suite alone, and 5 of the other 6 tracks are on a par with that section’s sheer brilliance.
The album’s track listing is:
All Loved Up
Blind To The Beautiful
A Feast of Consequences
The High Wood Suite
– High Wood
– Crucifix Corner
– The Gathering
– Thistle Alley
– The Leaving
The Other Side of Me
The Great Unravelling
You can buy the Standard CD or the Download (MP3 or FLAC) now. Or you can pre-order the Deluxe Edition of A Feast of Consequences now and receive a download code immediately. I highly recommend the final option, a work of this stature deserves to be enjoyed as it was intended, accompanied by a work of art to hold, read and enjoy while immersing yourself in some of the best music to be released this year.