In a world rotten with singer-songwriters it takes a craftsman to cut through the din. Tom Fidgen’s latest release A Boy Called Fish is a finely crafted sonic offering rooted in Fidgen’s propensity for writing great songs that don’t mimic the flavour of the day. Tom has that uncompromising ability to write his way, arrange his way, sing his way without apology.
The 9 tracks on A Boy Called Fish are true to Fidgen form–edgy production, thoughtful and poetic lyrics, and a sense that these songs are second cousins to each other, best taken together in one sitting. You know, the old concept of an album as the sum of its parts, not random singles. Or in Fidgenian wisdom, the album is a “school” of songs.
The album does have some stand-out “singles” to feed to the radiocracy –the opening track “Weeds of October” comes to mind as a contender, as well as “Weather Vanes” and “Diamonds”. Listening to the entire album gives one the sense that this artistic output has a more modern vision of progress and success than commercial radio could ever deliver.
The album is produced by long time collaborator and friend Stuart Cameron, who produced Sunfish’s self-titled 1993 indie release, back when an indie release was an achievement in itself. Sunfish garnered critical acclaim with their first record and followed it up with the 1994 release of mola mola and the rest is history. Regular rotation on commercial radio, national tours, awards and accolades.
This is the fourth solo album by Tom Fidgen and the first in 9 years. Supporting musical collaborators include Cameron, Dahmnait Doyle with her subtle, textured harmonies, Chris Church and his many strings, Steven Szczesniak on drums, Peter Fusco on bass and Blake Manning on loops and glockenspiel.
The album is available at tomfidgen.com. Twelve bucks for a hard copy. Download purchase available as well for $8.91.
I give A Boy Called Fish 8 mackerel out of 10.