In 1975, following the release of Relayer, every member of the band Yes released solo albums. Chris Squire’s Fish Out of Water is arguably the best of the five. I might even go as far to say that it’s the best Yes album never made. I believe that Squire’s bass and vocals are integral to the Yes sound, which is why projects like Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe never worked for me. No Squire!
Great basswork abounds on this recording. No surprise since Squire is one of the best and most influential bass players on the planet. “Hold Out Your Hand” has a very memorable bass riff to start the song. It’s not often that you can walk away singing bass riffs, but here you are with the opening lines to this song. It also has a nice organ solo by Pat Moraz. If Yes had released this as a single at the time, I believe it would have been very successful.
“You By My Side” is an absolutely lovely ballad, showcasing Squire’s ample vocal chops. He doesn’t get much opportunity to sing lead in his primary band, but he has the ability to sing with emotion and depth that sometimes even the flawless tenor of Jon Anderson misses.
The prog centerpiece of the album is “Silently Falling.” It has excellent orchestration from Andrew Pryce Jackman, who takes us from cascading woodwinds to flutes to the real meat of the piece. Starting off slow and easy then picking up with an organ solo around four minutes in. Horns blaring at six minutes, it goes on for over eleven minutes and never loses steam. I’m a sucker for the appropriate use of orchestra in progressive rock music and this song does not disappoint.
“Lucky Tonight” features a funky jazz bass riff that subtly recalls “Long Distance Runaround,” sax solos by Mel Collins that rip out your heart and a very memorable chorus. Closer “Safe (Canon Song)” sustains itself for almost fifteen minutes with a melody that is repeated by different orchestral instruments. It is not the strongest piece on the record, but it is strong enough to stand on its own if needed.
Yes must be satisfying Squire’s creative outlet enough or he would be making more solo albums. This one is extremely successful. I wish he’d make more, if only for the opportunity to hear him take lead vocal duties more often. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on December 24th, 2010