The six years between Fish’s last album ‘13th Star’ and his brand new work, ‘A Feast Of Consequences’, was a turbulent time for the singer. Health problems with his vocal cords and a disastrous marriage led the singer into a period of major reassessment. Travelling solo to places such as Costa Rica, Cuba and Vietnam, coupled with a number of intimate tours of the UK and Europe, reignited Fish’s imagination and a new album started to take shape.
Produced by Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile/Prefab Sprout) and opening with the eleven-minute epic ‘Perfume River’, it’s apparent from the very start that with ‘A Feast Of Consequences’, Fish has crafted a truly special album, possibly the finest of his long and illustrious career.
The title track, ‘A Feast Of Consequences’ brings many of Fish’s lyrical concerns together. Inspired by a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson – “Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences” – which Fish discovered in a book by Richard Heinberg called ‘The Party’s Over’, it chimes perfectly with much of the reading Fish was doing about dwindling world resources, global warming, socio politics and the environment in general while writing the album.
And lyrically Fish is at his most poignant and prophetic throughout the album with the likes of the piano-driven ballad ‘Blind To The Beautiful’ examining a future of climatic catastrophe and the gorgeous acoustic introspection of ‘Other Side Of Me’ confronting personal demons in painted pictures of his solo travels through the world. However the dramatic rock’n’roll of ‘All Loved Up’, with its powerful examination of celebrity culture and social media, shows Fish is not retreatingg with age but roaring back to life with a vengeance.
Yet it is the five-song suite ‘The High Wood’ at the heart of the album which marks ‘A Feast Of Consequences’ as a truly unique body of work. Having spent his birthday in 2011 at the scene of the battle of the Somme by chance, Fish then discovered that both his grandfathers had been stationed extremely close by. Their experiences, particularly in the desperate three-month-long battles at a place called High Wood, had a profound effect and from that, and after much diligent research, the moving, stirring, terrifying and truly evocative collection of songs that comprise ‘The High Wood’ suite were born.
With the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War being commemorated in 2014, these songs – ‘The High Wood’, ‘Crucifix Corner’, ‘The Gathering’, ‘Thistle Alley’ and ‘The Leaving’ – serve as a prescient reminder of the horrors and personal tragedies of warfare, as well as the valour and courage of those conscripted to fight. They are also amongst the most musically ambitious pieces of work Fish has ever created and remain long in the memory after they fade to silence. As the cries of ‘The Leaving’ remind us: “Lest we forget”.
“It’s been six years since my last album” explains Fish, “and it would have been easy to take the money and throw out a formulaic album that in all honesty I couldn’t have put my hand on heart on and been proud off. It takes me time to make an album that I can stand by and say “I’m proud of this; this is what I wanted to write, this is what I wanted to say, this is the best I can do!” My integrity is important to me and I try to treat fans as I would like to be treated by an artist I respected and enjoyed. I am quite proud to have some old fashioned values in this day and age and I am very proud of this album. If it was to be my last album ever then it would be a fine farewell! “