Fishing 4 Compliments & The 3 laws
There are two things that are laws of music as far as I'm concerned. 1. If you are predominantly a live band, don't over produce your recorded songs. 2. Folk music is all about the story. These two laws are perfectly illustrated and executed by the superb band Fishing 4 Compliments. If there is a third law, it's have fun with your music.
Fishing 4 Compliments are based in the historic market town of Huddersfield, not only the birth place of the band but of Rugby League too. They are obviously in good company. Also from the area is Lena Headey from Game of Thrones, Harold Wilson, The only politician in the UK to be Prime Minster - twice and Gordon Kaye ('Allo 'Allo!).
They have been gracing the live scene in the area for over 10 years and finally made their debut album in 2020, “Off the Isle of Somewhere”. The album perfectly illustrates the 1st law. They are predominantly a live band and they have produced the album accordingly, a nod to the fan base they have accrued over the years. That's not to say that the album is not well produced, it is, but with an ear to their live roots. The band members, Eileen, Ashley, James, Steve and David are obviously good friends as well as bandmates. When a band has been together for over 10 years, there's usually some friction but these guys seem to have struck the balance between musical creativity and friendship.
So to the Album “Off the Isle of Somewhere”. It's an album that perfectly demonstrates the 2nd Law. For example, the track “Shell” opens with a beautifully simple yet catchy acoustic guitar intro, which breaks into an electric guitar riff reminiscent of early 70's folk infused popular music (think, Bread – “I'm gonna make it with you”), speed it up a little and you have
it. When the rest of the band bring up the tempo it's a foot tapping pleasure punch to the brain. Eileen's vocal is a doppelgänger for Kirsty McColl or even Jacqui Abbott, often singer with The Beautiful South on their hits “Rotterdam”, “Perfect 10” or “Don't Marry Her”.
Also, the foot tapping, catchy and upbeat song “We got It Wrong”. Simple lyrics are always better than over complicating things. I can imagine Fishing 4 Compliments fans singing this song back to them with full lungs at their gigs. That's what I would be doing. I could be wrong here, but I've watched the youtube video of the performance of this song and I think it definitely illustrates that Eileen is more comfortable singing on stage live then in front of a camera. She is obviously having fun in this video (others, not so much). Eileen seems to have a lovely personality if not a little shy and I can't help thinking she feels she doesn't deserve the limelight. I'm here to say that she does. When she relaxes and enjoys her rightful place in the limelight she shines through.
“Mystic Moonlight” is another favourite. Opening up with the harmonics of a guitar, ringing like a meditation bell. The songs opener is reminiscent of the opening bars to “Ferry Across The Mersey”. The track progresses in almost a psychedelic journey. I can imagine tripping to this song without the drugs! This track exposes the potential range of Eileen's vocals. With the beautifully flowing and melodic “Way out of My Head”, the upbeat, catchy and fun “Baby Blue” and triumphant, uplifting but uncertain love song “Tomorrow Who Knows”, this album is accomplished and well balanced between live and studio. I would love to see some live performances by the band. I can imagine they can draw an audience in and feel more at home on the stage.
All in all, It's an album of many feelings and emotions, all complimentary, thought provoking songs, with catchy guitars and bass backlines and superb folk vocals which perfectly illustrates my 3 laws! I love it!