In December 2014 I wrote in my review of the third Fish On Friday album “Godspeed” that you could find amazing melodies, vocal harmonies and keyboard orchestrations on this consistent album without any weak points. The successor of that album is entitled “Quiet Life”. A title that has it's origins in a recent dark period in the life of Frank van Bogaert, one of the driving forces behind Fish On Friday. In the middle of the production love abandoned him from one day to another. Well, like me some of you will recognize that feeling. Afterwards we can only agree with Frank that real beauty can't be achieved without having endured pain. Because this new Fish On Friday album is again an album full of blissful melodies and one of pure beauty. Like on the previous two albums you can find my favorite bass player Nick Beggs on this album. This time he brought one of his talented daughters with him. Lula Beggs is singing on two tracks of this album. Other familiar names are Theo Travis on flute and clarinet and John Mitchell on guitars. Another not unimportant detail; one of the songs is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and is produced and engineered by Alan Parsons.
William Beckers - keyboards, percussion; Frank van Bogaert - vocals, keyboards, guitars, backing vocals; Nick Beggs - bass, Chapman stick, backing vocals; Marty Townsend - electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin; Marcus Weymaere - drums and percussion
Lula Beggs - vocals on Sweet Love and Quiet Life
Stef Caers - backing vocals on Beautiful, Get Upand You've Hurt Me
Chantal Kashala - backing vocals on Get Up, MH17 and You've Hurt Me
Nina Babet - backing vocals on Get Up, MH17 and You've Hurt Me
Theo Travis - flute and clarinet on MH17
Alan Parsons - backing vocals on In The Key Of Silence
John Mitchell - guitars on In The Key Of Silence
Henri Ylen - saxophone on In The Key Of Silence
The album is housed in a digipak with beautiful photography of the beautiful light of early morning. The glow before the sun is appearing at the horizon. Personally I remember those magical moments of my Africa trips and especially the trips into the deserts of Algeria (Sahara) and Libya. The artwork of the album cover fits well with the music.
The two big forces behind Fish On Friday are of course William Beckers and the already mentioned Frank Van Bogaert. The later is also responsible for the engineering. Except for the song “In The Key Of Silence”, which is done by Alan Parsons. The album is consistent and it has an relaxed atmosphere. After the long and beautiful opener “Unreal” which is full of lovely melodies and delicate keyboard orchestrations, absolutely the first highlight of the album, we can hear the beautiful voice of Lula Beggs in a track called “Sweet Love”. It is a song with some pop influences and single potential.
“Beautiful” is the next highlight of the album. This is a typical Fish On Friday song with amazing vocal melodies and harmonies. You will find beautiful keyboard orchestrations in this song. “Quiet Life” another song with great melodies is the second track in which Lula Beggs is responsible for some of the vocals. The combination of male and female vocals works very well, a beautiful track. “Snowed in” is one of the shorter tracks. It is one of those tracks where you notice the backing vocals of Nick Beggs. And he is playing for the music and only for the compositions. And that is just wonderful. There are other projects and/or gigs where he can display the freaky and complex stuff.
After the rhythmic (do I hear a drum machine?) pop song “Get Up” we get a song called “MH17”. Everyone who follows the news will recognize these tragic numbers. Guest Theo Travis plays beautiful and delicate flute passages in this emotional song. The fools who rule this world, don't care about your fall. “You've Hurt Me” is of course a song full of personal feelings for Frank. As I told you already the song “In The Key Of Silence” is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and produced and engineered by Alan Parsons. This is of course not a random choice. If you want to label the music and the quality of the recordings and the vocal harmonies of the Fish on Friday albums, the name of the Alan Parsons Project will be the first one that enters your brain. Well what can I say, just another highlight of the album. The album closes with the delicate song “Time Out”. Nick is playing a beautiful bass line and the vocal melodies are breathtaking.
Fish On Friday did it again. Like the previous album “Godspeed” successor “Quiet Life” is a consistent album without any weak points. You can find the most beautiful melodies on this album. As always the vocals are first class and the keyboard orchestrations are wonderful. Great album to listen to after a hectic day at work.