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Communion (Live at St. Mary's Church Haddington, East Lothian)
Artist: Fish
Label: Chocolate Frog Records
Length: 19 tracks / 117:50 min

But I thought Fish was spelled Phish?  Not this one, but he isn't that far off in places.  This live album from Derek William Dick (former Marillion), commonly known as Fish, is soft-rock with progressive influences, which succeeds when it builds into high-energy crescendos (characteristic of the first of this two-disc set) but puts you to sleep when it does not (the second disc).

Fans of bands like Pink Floyd and Dire Straits (Fish's voice sounds eerily similar to that of Mark Knopfler, with an occasional leaning to Bob Dylan or Phil Collins) will enjoy the basic sound of this album. But Fish utilizes backup singers for ambience, including Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn, Ayreon), more frequently than Floyd and a more diverse instrument selection than either band.  And just to not disappoint listeners who thought they were getting the other "Phish," the average track length is more than six minutes long, and the album does include a few jazz-influenced jam-band-type sequences, even if one of them tends to drift off in a more "Edie Brickell" direction.

Communion is brilliant songwriting all around.  The energy just needed to be spread out a bit more in the live sequencing.

Dan Singleton
April 21, 2008


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