Raingods with Zippos

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1999 saw ex-Marillion singer Fish release his Raingods With Zippos set following some protracted legal battles with former labels. Enlisting producer Elliot Ness, Fish also chose to inject some new blood and worked with several new musicians which gives the album a re-energized feel. As always, the writing is literate and expressive, concerning itself with matters of the spirit and the heart. "Tumbledown" leads the album off in fine style. What begins as a lovely piano ballad, suddenly becomes a stomping rock track with soaring guitar work from newcomer Steve Wilson. The ballads arrive in the form of "Incomplete," a dreamy, acoustic duet with the throaty Elisabeth Antwai and mandolin, courtesy of Big Country's Bruce Watson, and "Tilted Cross." The latter is a harrowing account of the mayhem caused by landmines in Bosnia whose gentle tone almost betrays the song's content. The core of Raingods With Zippos is the twenty-five minute suite "Plague of Ghosts," which consists of six songs beginning with the eerie "Old Haunts." The suite ranges from the percolating, chugging rhythms of "Digging Deep" to the lovely "Waving At the Stars," whose programmed drums lend the cut an urgency. The suite peaks with the exquisite "Rain Gods Dancing," with majestic guitar from Wilson skirting over a stunningly, beautiful piano-based melody. Fish has delivered an album sure to please old fans and capable of winning new converts with some of the most satisfying work of his career.

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