You may not be familiar with the names Fabrizio "Doc Bix" Poli, Antonio "Lurpak" Fern, Salvo Pignanelli, Adriano Pancaldi, Mirco Zagnoli and Pino De Fazio, but together they make up the band Live Tropical Fish. Back in 1991, a young Fabrizio Poli met Antonio Ferne in university, and together they founded Live Tropical Fish. Their debut album Shape Your Life was released on IRMA records in 1997 to lots of interest in Europe, and on the back of this the band toured Europe , amassing a loyal fanbase. Their success reached its pinnacle in 1998 when they were chosen to be the opening act for Earth Wind and Fire in Switzerland.
You may not be familiar with the names Fabrizio "Doc Bix" Poli, Antonio "Lurpak" Fern, Salvo Pignanelli, Adriano Pancaldi, Mirco Zagnoli and Pino De Fazio, but together they make up the band Live Tropical Fish. Back in 1991, a young Fabrizio Poli met Antonio Ferne in university, and together they founded Live Tropical Fish. Their debut album Shape Your Life was released on IRMA records in 1997 to lots of interest in Europe, and on the back of this the band toured Europe , amassing a loyal fanbase. Their success reached its pinnacle in 1998 when they were chosen to be the opening act for Earth Wind and Fire in Switzerland. That very night the group decided to take a step back, rest and refocus. That break lasted two years, during which time the pair asked Salvo Pignanelli join the band. Their music continued to be heard throughout this period, with many tracks being remixed or put onto any decent collection of acid jazz, funk or bossa nova compilations. Refreshed and raring to go, Live Tropical Fish decided to take things to the next level by adding new members to really magnify their sound. With their good looks, talent, and loyal fan base, the only thing missing was new music, so they started working on their new album. The Day Is Too Short To Be Selfish is the end result, and includes Adriano Pancaldi, Pino De Fazio and a return of Mirco Zagnoli welcome guest vocals by Alison Crockett, Deborah Jordan, Laurnea, Omar, Maya Azucena, Nick Rolfe and April Hill.
The musical experience on this album sets it apart from so much of the ready-made music being produced in any category out there today -- much of which appears to be simply copying whatever the industry has decided is in vogue. This album is fresh and exciting, and a treat for fans of live instruments.
By the end of the first song, "Peace of Mind," I knew this review would be nothing but a joy. I heard jazz, afro beat, intricate vocal harmonies, all in varying paces and topped off with the delicate vocals of Deborah Jordan, soaring high like the lyrics command. Her soft vocals wrap the listener in "Believe," affirming that she can believe in love and being able to let go as she trusts in love and her lover. Laurnea's vocals maybe be sweet and tender, but when she has to ride along big sounds in "I'm Tired" it doesn't falter. The instruments and rhythm are like the waves crashing against the shore, one moment strong and ferocious, the next retreating and gentle. By contrast, on "Breathe Again" the same tender vocals are intoxicatingly hot and sticky like a summer night. The listener fights to breathe again from the suffocation of the memories of how love used to be. Almost as reprieve is Nick Rolfe's energizing "Speak Easy And Listen", where he asks that we see him for who he is not who we think he should be. We are asked to move beyond racial and gender stereotypes, in this uplifting, conscious, half spoken half sung track. Omar's "Rubber Soul" does not disappoint, and his instantly recognisable vocals are perfect for this song. From the tight first of the half of the track about life and fighting, we are treated to a more relaxed second half of the track.
The song that really turned up the heat for me however was "Complete Me," featuring Alison Crockett. Her clear vocals are the perfect match for the intricate afro beat, horns and heavy percussion. Like the different sides to a woman, Alison's vocals are tender in the verse, excitable in the bridge, and explosive and demanding of our attention in the chorus as we are asked to have faith and complete her. The contributions by April Hill and Maya Azucena equal the standards set by the other guest vocalists. April Hill's "A Rather Uncomfor table Combination" is a funky yet lyrically powerful track, packed with imagery and irony in fast sung stanzas. I found myself re-reading the lyrics for this and Rolfe's track, amazed at the depth they could produce. Maya Azucena's drama packed "Rising Bible" closes the album, filled with spiritual wisdom and the charge to "go with the rising bible".
This album is truly a musical experience, and I feel I have done an injustice to the band by focusing on the vocalists. Every track on this album is a successful marriage between the vocalist and the music; however we are not bystanders. We too are involved in the celebration. Every time I listen to the album something excites me. It can be the complexity of Antonio's bass rhythm, the urgency of Adriano's horn arrangement, the licks from Salvo's guitar, the jazzy accompaniment of Pino's keyboards, the passion of Fabrizio's percussion or Mirco's unwavering drums. Whilst I couldn't be a fly on the wall during the recording process, I intend to be a fully paid participant in the enjoyment and celebration of this project. Highly recommended.