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Released in 2005, 'Different Horizon' from Fisher's Tale is one of my favourite ever albums and contains some really beautiful music. As such I'm really happy to have the chance to review it, and hopefully to encourage some of you to check it out.
Fisher's Tale were originally formed in 1996 from a music workshop for young Christians. Over the years they have evolved into a six piece band who now perform original, self-penned songs with the twin aims of producing stunning music and spreading God's message through song. They consist of:
Abbie Cordial (Vocals)
Adrian Burr (Lead guitar)
Nat Stock (Rhythm guitar)
Sim Kay (Bass guitar)
Peter Gaston (Keys)
Darren Cordial (Drums)
The band's style is varied but consistent and the album flows together seamlessly. Some tracks feature a chilled, folky and acoustic vibe whilst others combine awesome guitars and drums to produce rocky, energetic pop songs.
A review for this album in the Beeston Express (a Nottingham newspaper) in 2005 described the band's style as 'folk-rock', but pointed out that 'the label doesn't do justice to what is a beautifully constructed piece of art.'
All the songs are tied together through thoughtful lyrics and the amazing voice of the lead singer whose soulful vocals whirl, rise and dip through the songs, always filled with emotion. The Christian music magazine Cross Rhythms described Abbie as 'a star of the future' and the Beeston Express stated that her voice is 'sultry, breathy, and then when you think you've heard all one voice can do, it soars like an angel's.' The vocals really are haunting and will stay with you long after you finish listening to the CD.
The Christian ethos of the band is present in most of the songs but is not too in-your-face and this album can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of religion.
Different Horizon is Fisher's Tale's fourth album to date and is far and away their best work. Flawlessly produced, it is filled with 13 memorable tracks, many of which have become firm favourites with me.
1. Reason to the Dream
This brilliant track begins the album and starts off gently with some beautiful cello playing, and the singer's sweet voice standing out, full and rich. Soon though the cello is joined by electric guitar in a stunning fusion and the song develops into a driving, soulful and slightly rocky ballad.
The lyrics focus on man's constant search for happiness, fulfilment and a reason for being. As confusing as this search can be, there are answers to be found and this song encourages listeners to open their minds and consider new possibilities.
A very chilled out track, this song opens with a carefully picked acoustic guitar, slightly reminiscent of Jack Johnson. This is one of the few tracks where lead singer Abbie takes a backseat and we hear the vocals of bass guitarist Sim, whose voice is open and sincere and has a lovely timbre. Abbie provides beautiful backing vocals and the song merges into a duet in the second half, with both voices merging sweetly together.
This track is about the need to appreciate what we have, and to also realise that all the material wealth around us means very little if we do not use our lives for good.
3. As A Child
One of my favourite tracks, this song starts quietly with slow, soulful singing and a quiet guitar backing, and builds up gradually throughout, until a crashing finale of drums and incredible vocals turns it into a rocking song.
The lyrics here relate to Jesus' instructions for people to come unto him as little children and to follow him in faith. The song also portrays his love and compassion towards us.
Crashing drums herald the start of this full-on rock/pop song with some amazing guitar solos. This is a track that will get you up and dancing!
Its lyrics take a look at how easy it is to drift through life on the surface, without feeling anything deeper or more profound. It is important to break through to our spiritual side.
5. Different Horizon
A distinctive and memorable guitar solo opens this track which in my opinion is one of the most commercial and radio-friendly tracks of the album. Sultry, bluesy vocals and a catchy, sing-along chorus add to the effect.
This track deals with the fact that this current world is pretty abysmal and that thankfully there is hope for the future. It is a hopeful song that embraces the possibility of change and I find it really uplifting.
6. Breathe Again
Gentle and soothing piano chords open up this stunning ballad. The vocals on this song are nothing short of amazing and it is one of the most memorable slow songs I have ever heard. That soulful voice echoing out is haunting and pierces the soul; it truly does take your breath away.
This song is an appreciation of the awesome things that Jesus did for us and for the world, and is appropriately serene and reverent without ever being boring.
7. Copy and Shadow
A soft beginning opens up into a more up-tempo and rhythmic track which features vocals from both Abbie and guitarist Nat. This is definitely a song that will have your foot tapping involuntarily!
This is quite a poppy track but has some profound lyrics about the current state of Western culture.
The up-tempo vibe continues with this fast paced and catchy song. Smokey, slightly husky vocals, jazzy keyboard skills and a persistant drum beat make this another track that you'll want to dance to.
The lyrics to this song deal with the transformation that occurs in us when we find a type of gravity, something that centres us and helps us to focus and deal with life.
9. Lead Us Through
A standout track for the album, Lead Us Through is a gorgeous and emotional ballad which asks God to lead us through the difficult times in life and help us to cope with all that is thrown at us. Beautiful harmonies and the addition of a choir in the later choruses, alongside pared down musical accompaniment, make this a breathtaking and heartbreaking song with an uplifting end. This is a personal favourite of mine and always makes me stop what I'm doing and listen.
10. Morning Brings Peace of Mind
Another chance to appreciate the soft and soothing vocal skills of guitarist Nat, this is a folky song featuring chilled guitar strumming and quiet, personal lyrics. This is a grower, the sort of song that probably won't hit you first time around but that you will soon come to love on repeated hearings.
This is a gently encouraging song that reassures and calms the listener. We have often heard that things will look better in the morning, but sometimes it is hard to believe that! With this track though, the future might seem a little brighter.
11. Lift Me Up
Lift Me Up is a beautiful duet between Abbie and Nat. It is a ballad with strong choruses and a fantastic bridge towards the end. This is a brilliant showcase for Abbie's voice and her amazing range is really shown off here.
The lyrics for this song deal with the futility of life and how it is easy to be dragged down by the day-to-day things that we deal with. The song is a plea to be lifted up from this drudgery and to be able to focus on what it is that really matters: our faith, and how we live.
A haunting track with soft, breathy vocals and poignant lyrics, Waiting is a song which will tug at your heartstrings. It is written from the point of view of someone standing in the midst of Jerusalem and viewing the destruction around them which has resulted from recent wars. It gives a voice to everyone who is waiting for a solution to the problems in today's world, and reminds us of the hope that peace will come when Jesus will return to the earth. Like Lead Us Through, this song's latter choruses feature backing from a choir, which contributes to the universal feel of this stunning track.
13. What You Say
A short track, this is a lovely and thought-provoking end to the album. The lyrics deal with the need to be careful about the person you are becoming. Featuring just the sound of the piano and Abbie's vocals, this song again proves that when a band has an amazing lead singer, some tracks can be pared down to the very minimum and still be incredibly powerful. It is the perfect finale.
WHERE TO BUY AND SAMPLE:
You can hear some brief samples of Reason to the Dream, Deeper and Different Horizon on Fisher's Tale's website, http://www.fisherstale.co.uk, where you can also find out more about the band. To find the samples you will need to look at the album information for Different Horizon. You can also buy the CD here, for just £10, with 10 per cent of sales going to charity.
I may seem a bit over-enthusiastic about this CD, but as many of you will have found, this is always a risk when reviewing one of your favourite albums! I would completely recommend this to anyone who likes Christian music or any of the styles mentioned above, but if that's not you, then I hope you enjoyed the read anyway!