Album Review

Chris Squire – Fish Out Of Water: Blu Ray High Resolution Edition: Album Review

Classic 1975 solo album from Yes bassman Chris Squire gets the remix treatment – and more…

Release Date:  30th October 2020

Label: Esoteric Recordings

Formats: Blu Ray

Upon completion of their Relayer tour in 1974, the members of Yes agreed to take time out so that each member could record and release a solo album. Done partly to alleviate the pressures that the band was feeling from their record company, Atlantic, to continually come up with new product.  The sequence of albums that were produced as a result of that hiatus – Jon Anderson’s Olias Of Sunhillow, Patrick Moraz’s Story Of I, Steve Howe’s Beginnings, Alan White’s Ramshackled and Chris Squire’s Fish Out Of Water – are generally considered to be as good as anything the band produced collectively, and Fish Out Of Water is probably the best of the bunch. 

Recorded in late spring and throughout the summer, of 1975 at Squire’s home studio in his New Pipers mansion in Virginia Water, Surrey, Fish Out Of Water is a rich, lush, often complex but always melodic collection of mini-symphonies that demonstrate that Squire was always something more than ‘just the bass player.’  Of course, Chris Squire was never ‘just’ a bass player. He was a fine exponent of that instrument and his playing set much of the style and standard for the whole prog movement.   Whilst his signature twangy Rickenbacker 4001 sound is prominent throughout the five songs that constitute this set, it complements rather than detracts from the quality of the songs and the album is equally notable for the quality of Chris’s vocals 

The album is actually a collaboration between Squire and his old friend Andrew Pryce Jackman, who co-wrote (although he refused a credit), arranged and orchestrated the album’s material. The pair were joined by ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, the then-current Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz, King Crimson saxophonist Mel Collins and flautist Jimmy Hastings.  That’s a pretty heavyweight lineup!

And it sold well! Fish Out Of Water shifted over 500,000 units worldwide and was a chart hit in both the UK and the USA.  As for the music itself, Hold Out Your Hand (which features Squire’s and Jackman’s former choirmaster on the St Paul’s Cathedral organ) and You By My Side are probably as close to the classic Yes sound that the album gets – all sumptuous harmonies and upfront basswork. 

Silently Falling veers towards an orchestral theme and includes an outstanding organ passage from Patrick Moraz, and the dazzling Lucky Seven (the name refers to the song’s time signature – 7/8) is alternately confusing and bewitching.  The orchestral theme is reprised on closing track Safe (Canon Song), a track noted for the eerie tone of the closing passage, which was apparently achieved by playing the lines on the bass strings of a 6-string/bass double-neck guitar with only the pick-ups on the 6-string section active.

This latest package is the fourth reissue of Fish Out Of Water.  An initial US-only reissue in 2006 was followed in 2007 by a deluxe 2-disc set, released on Chris Squire’s own Stone Ghost Records. In 2018, a seven-disc set included all the previously issued material, plus new 5.1 and stereo remixes of the album.

This time around, the package includes two new mixes of the original album – a 5.1 surround sound mix and a 96 kHz/24-bit new stereo mix, plus the original stereo mix, the original promotional film for the album, featuring Hold Out Your Hand and You By My Side plus a reissue of the 2006 Fish Out of Water interview with Chris Squire.  Although only the two new mixes have not seen previous light of day, at around £11.99 via Cherry Red, the package does represent reasonably good value for the Chris Squire audiophiles and completists.

Watch the Fish Out of Water promotional video from the Blu Ray package here:

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