An absorbing glimpse into the prog icon’s last hurrah.
Releasing this much new material so far in advance of widelydiscussed final album Weltschmerz might seem like an avoidable case of premature, um, elucidation, but the songs on this EP are so good that Fish can be forgiven for hastening the process. The ambition and the intimacy of this material has brought the best out of the big man. In fact, he hasn’t sounded this committed or consumed by the power of his own poetry for a very long time. Defiantly prog-to-thecore and at times almost mischievously Floydian, Little Man What Now is the finest of the three tracks: a gently harrowing tale of real world struggles in the face of economic disarray, it’s as deeply affecting as anything Fish has sung since leaving Marillion; his self-evident emotional investment in the subject matter making it feel vastly more personal than political. Waverley Steps’ 14-minute sprawl is guaranteed to delight veteran fans: more upgrade than throwback, it’s the sound of Fish approaching the exit with his prog rock head held high. Man With A Stick completes the trilogy with a dash of menacing pomp. If the rest of Weltschmerz is this good, we may be talking about a classic.