CD Review – Fish On A Friday – Black Rain

Fish On A Friday is an Anglo-Belgian band that has been producing pop-infused very melodic prog albums since the band’s debut album Shoot The Moon in 2010. There have been personnel changes over that time, of course, that have included Nick Beggs on bass for the last few years. I was going to write that along for the ride is Beggs’ daughter Lula, but that would be to underestimate her contribution. She has a beautiful voice that fits well here, and she surely has a career of her own opening up.

Black Rain is Fish On Friday’s fifth and could be their strongest album so far. The eleven songs on the album feature flawless production and the songs and arrangements are imaginative and creatively developed. The band, featuring Nick Beggs, Frank Van Bogaert, Marty Townsend and Marcus Weymaere, sounds tighter and may be a little livelier than on previous releases.

Whilst the music does have the pop leanings that make it almost catchy and radio friendly at times, there are serious concerns being considered. You find yourself wondering if this is an overflow from Nick Beck’s other projects. Black Rain seems to pick up where Mute Gods left off. The observations on getting older, fears of losing the fight against life’s travails, pessimism balancing optimism, along with some broadly political themes such as the environment, refugees, and the good old dependable – war. In general, the state of the world.

Having said that, the music remains catchy and almost lush. The production work is impeccable and the musicianship very strong. There are lapses into saccharine territory, and there is an overall feeling of the tracks being fairly similar sounding and not quite “dirty” enough. (Sometimes a little roughness can produce an edginess otherwise missing). These observations apart, this album is moving in a strong direction that should give the bands career some momentum.

1. Life in Towns (5:45)

2. Murderous Highland Highway (8:13)

3. Black Rain (4:53)

4. Mad at the World (4:57)

5. Letting Go of You (6:48)

6. Angel of Mercy (4:48)

7. We’ve Come Undone (5:08)

8. Morphine (3:08)

9. We Choose to be Happy (3:25)

10. Trapped in Heaven (4:04)

11. Diamonds (4:22)

Frank Van Bogaert / keyboards, guitar, vocals, producer & arranger

William Beckers / keyboards, percussion

Marty Townsend / acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin

Nick Beggs / bass, Chapman stick, backing vocals

Marcus Weymaere / drums, percussion

With:

Lula Beggs / vocals

Label: Cherry Red Records/Esoteric Antenna

Format: CD, Digital

Release Date: 15th May, 2020

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