By the time Yes had completed the tour to support their 1974 album Relayer the band members were ready for a break from the Yes machine and decided to take time out to pursue solo endeavours. Steve Howe released Beginnings, Alan White his only solo album Ramshackled, Patrick Moraz (who would not return for Relayer‘s follow up Going For The One) The Story Of I, Jon Anderson Olias Of Sunhollow and Chris Squire produced Fish Out Of Water. Following the tour Squire with the assistance of his old pal, and former The Syn keyboard player, Andrew Pryce Jackman started the development and writing for what would become Fish Out Of Water. The title was derived from a combination of the bass players nickname “Fish” (because he was a Pisces) along with a reference to the fact that he was away from his natural surroundings within Yes. Squire’s first solo effort which achieved silver status in the UK on its original release is now getting a long awaited vinyl re-release complete with fully restored artwork in a gatefold sleeve.
Cut at Abbey Road Studios, this edition uses the 2020 Esoteric Blu-ray mix of the original 5 tracks supplying a crisp well separated sound over its all to brief 47 minutes. Opening with a combination of the St. Paul’s Cathedral pipe organ played by cathedral organist Barry Rose (who as a choirmaster trained Squire) and Squire’s dazzling bass line ‘Hold Out Your Hand’ finds Squire doing his best Jon Anderson impersonation on vocal despite not quite nailing the singers falsetto tones. From this performance this really could be a new Yes album as former members Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford join the fray on keyboards and drums respectively. ‘You By My Side’ seamlessly emerges from the previous track at a slower pace. This opening duo affirm Fish Out Of Water as the best Yes album the band didn’t make with the changing pace and grandiose dynamic as Bruford closes out on tubular bells. Although every track is a mini epic side one closes with the first true epic, ‘Silently Falling’ opens like a Disney theme with its fairytale flute before the bass and percussion take the lead. Moraz’s flying fingers chase the rhythm throughout proving he is every bit the keyboard wizard that Wakeman is (and more). Chris Squire’s guitar work really comes to life during this fusion of progressive, jazz and classical music. If this track had made it into the live arena it would have been monstrous. With its 7/8 time signature US single ‘Lucky Seven’ lays strings and (Mel Collins) saxophones over a King Crimson (Bruford) percussive off beat but manages to remain less pretentious than much mid 70’s period prog. Second true epic and 15 minute album closer ‘Safe (Canon Song)’ gives the progressive rock listener everything that they could wish for from and more, wordy hippy lyrics (“I’ll be waiting beside you, To shelter your heart’s, Like a ship in a harbour, Blown in by the storms that surround us”), driving percussion, pounding bass, electric keyboard passages and beautiful orchestration. It even throws in a passage from Close To The Edge‘s title track during the finale and it was surely influential on Big Big Train when they were working on ‘Brave Captain’. Double EPIC! For many Fish Out Of Water was the best Yes solo albums of the period, if not ever and I would find it difficult to argue against that point.
Squire only released one further solo album, Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir in 2007 (although he did record with Conspiracy, Squackett and The Syn) but was the only original member to play on all 21 Yes albums up until his passing in 2015. In 2018 Fish Out Of Water received a well deserved lavish 7 disc Deluxe treatment followed in 2020 by the Esoteric Blu-ray from which this release was cut. This is one of those albums which benefits from being in a darkened room with your headphones on and many will welcome this vinyl reissue as they would have worn out their original vinyl copies many years ago. Yes continue to record (their latest album Mirror To The Sky is release one week before this release) and perform to this day but many feel that since his loss the band have lost their heartbeat. Whatever your thoughts there is no doubt that Fish Out Of Water Is an important part of the great man’s legacy.
- Reviewed By Peter Brockwell.
- Fish Out Of Water (Vinyl Edition) is released via Cherry Red Records/Esoteric Recordings on 26th May 2023.
- Fish Out Of Water is also available in other formats.
1 Hold Out Your Hand
2 You By My Side
3 Silently Falling
1 Lucky Seven
2 Safe (Canon Song)