ALBUM REVIEW - Chris Squire's "Fish Out Of Water"

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Chris Squire

Fish Out Of Water (Reissue)

Cherry Red

Fish Out Of Water might as well be a Yes album. Chris Squire’s burbling, bubbling basslines buoy the material while his angelic vocals demonstrate that he could have just as easily handled the front man position with the prog rock progenitors as his pal Jon Anderson. Yet, what’s most remarkable here is not the bass man’s artistry as his ability to assemble an ensemble capable of carrying the compositions across the victory line. For these 1975 sessions he brought in drummer Bill Bruford, King Crimson’s saxophonist Mel Collins and the almighty Patrick Moraz on keyboards.

Bruford and Squire reveal themselves once more as the quintessential rhythm section of the era, calling and answering each other like star-crossed lovers on a midsummer’s eve. Moraz, a relatively temporary part of the Yes puzzle, dazzles nicely on organ during the nearly 12-minute “Silently Falling.” For fans that wanted just a little more from him during his tenure with Yes, Fish Out Of Water provides that chance. (His two piano/percussion albums with Bruford, which arrived in the 1980s, offer further delights.)

Squire’s childhood friend Andrew Pryce Jackman lent help on a number of fronts, including the heartfelt and magnificent piano work heard throughout, though burning especially bright on “You By My Side.” It’s a track filled with kind of transparent sentiments Anderson would obscure with mountains coming out of the sky and whatnot. Squire doesn’t bother hiding his romantic inclinations and the piano work becomes as integral to the tune’s success as its Anglican-inspired vocal harmonies.

The legendary Barry Rose, however, takes us all to church with some decidedly revelatory (and occasionally hallucinatory) pipe organ on the opening “Hold Out Your Hand.” The original album closer, “Lucky Seven,” may be one of the most underappreciated moments in the ‘70s progressive rock oeuvre, suggesting what might have happened had Robert Fripp hired Squire as bassist for King Crimson or had UK more fully retained its Britishness.

Fish Out Of Water is now reissued in a two CD/two DVD set that also includes an LP and two seven inch singles.