Anyone expecting the gentle prog of Fisher’s ex-band will initially, most likely, be a little confused by the grown up pop presented on the earlier of these two releases, a slick smooth sound revealed that wouldn’t be out of place in a laid back Eagles setting, or even at the less cheerful end of Paul McCartney’s solo output. It’s classy stuff that reminds just how strong Fisher’s often overlooked vocals are and the overall standard remains high throughout. Opener “Can’t You Feel My Love” may be an overly unassuming introduction, but it is a still a cleverly paced and well constructed piece that happily sits on a reserved groove. Things pick up with “Give It A Try”; a more insistent and forceful slice of organ induced pop that, while of its time, possesses more than enough of a classy 70s sheen to have more depth and believability. It also sets the tone for the rest of the album, the strong mix of accessibility and intricately structured melodies carrying “Only A Game” and “Running From Your Love” deep into the memory…
The biggest shock that arrives when track eleven on this disc kicks in – track one of the Strange Days album – is the short period of time between it and its predecessor. From the smooth, yet crafted 70s pop and rock of the previous album, the leap into austere 80s inspired electro shimmers of “Something I Should Know” suggest the passing of decades, rather than mere months…”Living In A Dream” thriving on simple pop hooks and trilling saxophone, while “Desperate Measures” repeats the process in a rockier and harder hitting setting…Strange Days is more a mixed bag than a failure and there’s more than enough to keep you sticking with it. However there’s no doubt that it’s the first ten tracks on this disc from the Matthew Fisher album that will continue to draw you back for more.
Sea Of Tranquility (February 2018)
This shadowy figure is best remembered these days for his invaluable contribution on Hammond organ to Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale,’ and the fact that it took several decades of serious litigation before he was finally granted a co-writing credit to this classic 1967 hit in 2009. Fisher’s solo career continued on a fairly intermittent basis in the interim, and Angel Air’s latest CD re-issue focuses attention on two of his unjustly overlooked offerings from the early eighties. The results veer much closer to mainstream pop than the classically inspired prog-rock of his Procol Harum days, with “Anna” and “Why’d I Have To Fall In Love” emerging as the best of a strangely affecting bunch.
Kevin Bryan, regional newspapers (January 2018)