The past 20 years has seen a lot of rock acts wave the white flag. Heading into retirement, or touring classic albums, there is a general feel that rock has given up on it’s own importance; elbowed into submission by hip hop, then EDM, then pop. Take a look at this century’s ‘Download’ headliners and you’ll see that there’s not really been any new, breakthrough, acts who’ve made a difference (bar Slipknot and System of a Down), only a revolving list of rock names who’s careers are the wrong side of 40. Where, and when, did rock lose its ambition, willingness to take risks and explore new horizons?
One band not freezing with the challenge of pushing rock forward is Northumbria based prog explorers Stuckfish who’s new LP sets about try to wake rock up from it’s slumber and get it prize ready again.
‘Calling’ is an interesting 10-track album, which strives to combine storytelling lyrics with multi-layered musical parts. Although not maintaining it’s high standards across the full album, Calling deserves credit for it’s intent to create something unique and interesting.
Standout tracks ‘Calling’, ‘Overwhelmed’ and ‘Wall of silence’ use emotive electronics to blend brilliant guitar playing with strong vocal deliveries. Set inside a world of Iron Maiden style riffs, Dave Gilmour guitar solos and stories about regrets, dreams and searching, the Fish do a great job of creating new worlds. Definitive production by Adrian Fisher supports the creation of an album that is slick, clear and precise.
Album highlight ‘Breathe’ takes us further into an interesting sonic world with progressive electronic work interspersed with a flamenco style electric guitar riff.
Starfish have set out not just to make an album, but to do something interesting in a genre in much need of new ideas. They’ve done a great job. Download take a look at them.