This is the second solo album from Mr. Derek W Dick otherwise known to us all as Fish, the first lead singer for the band Marillion. As Fish’s first effort (1990’s Vigil In A Wilderness of Mirrors) strongly recalled his career with his former band, Internal Exile sees him moving toward a more mainstream rock and AOR approach with strong Scot overtones. He seems to be revealing more and more of his Scottish heritage as his career progresses at this point. By the end of “Credo” and title song “Internal Exile,” the drums are beating like it’s a freakin’ Scottish Tatoo!! There are also lyrics of a most personal nature as Fish had written in the past with his former band, but here they are given more gloss and an accessibility factor.
Though I prefer the first album Vigil In the Wilderness of Mirrors, I admit that here Fish has found a way to rock harder in a more likeable way. Fish has found a wonderful group of musicians to help him convey his smart and sensitive lyrical messages. Keyboardist Mickey Simmonds, Guitarists Frank Usher and Robin Boult all share writing credits on various songs.
I found the story in “Just Good Friends” to be familiar and intriguing. “Tongues” is musically very clever and driven by a strong vocal performance. Other excellent vocal performances on “Dear Friend” and “Favourite Stranger” are of a more sensitive nature.
I discovered Fish after he already had left his former band, so I am partial to the man’s first couple of albums. Though I realize that this album is a step away from the former, it is still with many redeeming qualities. Internal Exile is worth the purchase for Thunderclap Newman’s “Something In the Air” cover alone!
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on September 3rd, 2011