CD Matthew Fisher/Strange Days (CD 1267111), Audio Other
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Matthew Fisher/Strange Days

  • 1. Anna
    2. Running From Your Love
    3. Looking For Shelter
    4. Miss Suzie
    5. Something I Should Have Known
    6. Take Me For a Ride
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 308

  • Credits

    This CD contains two previously seperately released LPs.
    After Matthew Fisher's three-year stint as Procol Harum's keyboard player, which includes his work on A Whiter Shade of Pale, he went on to produce Robin Trower's first three solo albums before he released his own in 1973. Although this album, Journey's End, and his next one, entitled I'll Be There, failed to bring Fisher any substantial acclaim, 1980's self-titled release sparked some promise, thanks to some renowned help and sharper songwriting. Packaged together on one disc, both Matthew Fisher and 1981's Strange Days reveal that Fisher's talents as a keyboard player stretch far beyond that of Procol Harum's realm, while demonstrating his ability to write as well. Matthew Fisher is the more solid sounding of the two, employing Rod Argent on background vocals and session man Tim Renwick on guitar, who has played with Ace and David Bowie, among countless others. This album focuses more attention on Fisher's Hammond organ prowess than Strange Days, while the songs are engulfed in a sturdier rock (and soft rock) habitat as well. Fisher's playing isn't bewildering or rambunctious, but his keyboard does elevate his singing, giving songs such as "Back in Your Arms Again" and "Just How Blind" some added persona. Fisher's writing far exceeds any of his past releases, even though "Can't You Feel My Love" and "Only a Game" come across as commonplace, radio-sounding efforts. "Anna," "Miss Suzie," and "Give It a Try" all contain more value in their guitar and organ fraternity than in their lyrics. The opposite situation arises on Strange Days, exonerating expansive and uplifting vocals, but dispensing with Fisher's ability to display his instrumental dexterity. Produced by Chris White of Zombies fame, Strange Days is basked in the shallowness of electronics, exchanging orchestral movements for drum machines and watered-down synthesizer parts. Without any distinguishable charm or angle, tracks like "Living in a Dream," "Desperate Measures," and "Without You" appear as new wave-meets-pop material. Although the songs are well written and Fisher's voice is appealing, there's no instrumental perspective to lift these attributes. It was this absence of musical depth that kept Strange Days from being released in Britain, and may have been a factor in Fisher's decision not to record since. When grouped together, the two albums provide more of a creditable inspection into his music than as separate pieces, and the pros do end up outweighing the cons. ~ Mike DeGagne

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