- 01. The Perception of Johnny Punter (08:36) [Dick/Wilson]
- 02. Goldfish & Clowns (06:36) [Dick/Wilson]
- 03. Change of Heart (03:41) [Dick/Boult]
- 04. What Colour is God? (05:50) [Dick/Wilson]
- 05. Tara (05:11) [Dick/Patterson]
- 06. Jungle Ride (07:33) [Dick/Boult]
- 07. Worm in a Bottle (06:23) [Dick/Boult]
- 08. Brother 52 (06:05) [Dick/Wilson]
- 09. Sunsets on Empire (06:54) [Dick/Wilson]
- 10. Say it with Flowers (04:15) [Dick/Wilson/Bowness]
- 11. Do Not Walk Outside This Area (Bonus track on remaster/Japanese CD) (06:29) [Dick/Wilson]
Dick Bros Record Company, released 19th May 1997
Japan: PCCY-01110 (Pony Canyon, released April 18th)
EU: RR 8679-2 (016861867928) (Roadrunner Records, released 28th Oct 1998) (includes one bonus track – ‘Do Not Walk Outside This Area’).
UK: DDICK26CD (6 04388 41542 7) – a special limited edition run including interview CD
EU: (Dick Bros) DDICK26 (4844632)
US: 54197-2 (Viceroy/Lightyear, released June 5th ’97). This CD contains the video clip of Brother 52 as a CD-ROM track.
CD Promo + info sheet (released April 1997)
01. Brother 52 (03:58 – Single Edit)
02. Change of Heart (03:44 – Album Version)
03. What Colour is God? (04:08 – Edit)
04. Tara (04:04 – Edit)
05. Goldfish & Clowns (04:13 – Radio Edit)
CD Disc 1:
01. The Perception of Johnny Punter (08:36) [Dick/Wilson]
02. Goldfish & Clowns (06:36) [Dick/Wilson]
03. Change of Heart (03:41) [Dick/Boult]
04. What Colour is God? (05:50) [Dick/Wilson]
05. Tara (05:11) [Dick/Patterson]
06. Jungle Ride (07:33) [Dick/Boult]
07. Worm in a Bottle (06:23) [Dick/Boult]
08. Brother 52 (06:05) [Dick/Wilson]
09. Sunsets on Empire (06:54) [Dick/Wilson]
10. Say it with Flowers (04:15) [Dick/Wilson/Bowness]
11. Do Not Walk Outside This Area (Bonus track on remaster/Japanese CD) (06:29) [Dick/Wilson]
CD Disc 2: Bonus Interview CD (only with limited edition digipack – 15,000 copies)
A conversation with Fish on the subjects of . . .
01. The themes behind Sunsets On Empire, personal factors, the Yin & Yang world tour, global issues, characters on the album dawn to dusk. (02:45)
02. The concept running through the new album, comparison with Marillion and previous solo albums. (00:50)
03. The album title, inspiration from a dream, CNN, school maps, Hollywood history, Vietnam, the Net, Mark Wilkinson’s artwork. (03:29)
04. Bosnia, Forgotten Sons and the Falklands War, phone calls from the front, Spike Milligan, Bosnia’s scenic beauty (03:55)
05. Writing the album, working with Steve Wilson, Porcupine Tree and No Man, band problems. (02:52)
06. Musical styles, the fan base, ‘movies for peoples’s ears’, dramatic vocals, Cinemascope production techniques. (02:31)
07. The recording progress, instruments used, working with Calum Malcolm and Avril Mackintosh, mastering the album. (02:52)
08. The Perception of Johnny Punter, Lenny Bruce, influence of Bosnia v Croatia. (02:04)
09. Goldfish & Clowns, fairground images, ‘the shows’, marital problems. (01:58)
10/11. Change of Heart, looking at relationships, glory in defeat, Scottish World Cup dreams, classic pop songs, Kayleigh, declaring love in black and white. (01:55/01:25)
12. What Colour is God?, Malcolm X, talking to Tara, St Lucia, racial stereotyping. (04:11)
13. Tara, Soweto and Brazil, growing up in the Sunsets world, fairy tale versus reality, another sunrise. (02:38)
14. Jungle Ride, beat poetry, the fastest ride in the fairground, the watering hole, the epitome of sex. (02:41)
15. Worm In A Bottle, the sad man’s Happy Birthday song, drinking the dregs and crunching the Mezcal worm. (01:27)
16/17. Brother 52, grooves and loops, Doc’s story, the video shoot, working with Duncan of Jordanstone College, Bim’s Tattoo Studio, first live tattoo in a video. (02:12/03:36)
18. Sunsets on Empire, ‘join the dots’ lyrics, night of the big awakening. (01:20)
19. Say It With Flowers, sick lullabies, short red roses, problems during mixing. (02:07)
Total Time (46:56)
Thanks to Carol Craft at Q Sound, Brian, Tom. Donna, Rachel & John at Gateway Mastering Studios, Malcolm Macpherson at Henderson, Boyd Jockson, George at Walsall Music Shop, Roger Trinder & Nark Sale & Sealandair, Tracey, Steve & Graham at Dream Hire, London, Zildjian Cymbals.
Special thanks to David Sawyer, Gary Hobbis & The Midland Bank for ‘Sunrise Maintenance’, Goertz Elbertzhagen, Lynda Hill, Kristov & everyone at Kick International, Koln, David Massey for the introduction, Merlin for the Tarot & Bill for contacts, Debbie & June, Kenny Graham & the 6 o’clock club at the Tyneside for stress management, Nigel & Emma at PTI Agency, Graham Carpenter, Tets & everyone at Pony Canyon, Robert White, Mark W, Neil Dalgleish, Tommy Z, Lars Olaf, Helene, Raffa & Tomas, Richard Astbury & all at CSE & SSVC, especially everyone involved with IFOR in Bosnia & Croatia, May 1996, and at Smudge’s Bar, the ‘in-country club’ Sarajevo for the experiences, memories & the wake up.
Extra special thanks to Robin, Frank, Squeeky, Foss & Ewen, Steve the ‘prog prince’, Avril the ‘comping cherub’, Gunner Elliot, Calum, Bob L, Terry Storey, ‘Doc’ in the ‘Brother 52’, & Everyone who helped in the creation of this album. Mark & Julie Wynne, Bill McNie & all the members and organisers of the illustrious Company who make our world spin round and finally of course, to Jeremy Lawson, Shona Ford, Jane Findlay, Kelvin Boys Yates ‘Yatta’, Tammi, Tara & my family without whom I could never see the light of day. See you in the morning when the sun comes up.
FISH: lead vox (all tracks)
STEVEN WILSON: lead guitar (tracks 1, 10), rhythm guitar (tracks 1, 8, 9), slide guitar (track 9), keyboards (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), loops/sampler (tracks 2, 4, 5, 8)
FOSS PATTERSON: Hammond organ (tracks 1, 2, 7, 8, 9), piano (tracks 1, 2, 5, 9), keyboards (tracks 3, 5, 6), backing vox (track 4)
EWEN VERNAL: bass (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
DAVE STEWART: drums (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
ROBIN BOULT: rhythm guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9), 12 string guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10), lead guitar/e-bow (tracks 5, 8)
FRANK USHER: lead guitar (tracks 1, 3, 7, 8), rhythm gtr (tracks 2, 3, 4, 7, 8), slide guitar (tracks 3, 7)
DAVE HASWELL: percussion (tracks 2, 5, 6)
CHRIS GAUGH: cello (tracks 1, 5)
BRIAN HALE: violin (tracks 1, 5)
MARTYN BENNETT: violin (tracks 6, 8)
LORNA BANNON: backing vox (tracks 1, 2, 5, 9)
KATHERINE GARRETT: backing vox (tracks 3, 6)
Other additional musicians: Don Jack & Chris Thompson; backing vocals track 1 / Annie McCaig backing vocals, Terence Jones french horn track 9 / Fraser Spiers harmonica track 6 / voice on telephone in Brother 52 – ‘Doc’ / string arrangements on track 1: Steve Wilson, track 5: Foss Patterson. Samples on track 4 sent from the heavens. ‘Empire awakening’ pianola played by Tara Rowena Dick.
Arranged and produced by Steven Wilson
Vocal sessions produced by Avril Mackintosh
Engineered by Elliot Ness
Mixed by Calum Malcolm
Recorded & mixed at Millennium Recording Studios, Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland.
Mastered at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine, USA by Bob Ludwig.
Q Sound Labs, Inc. Canada supplied QSYS/TDM & QX/IDM Software plug-ins for Digidesign Protols III which were used on this album.
Postal address: The Company Scotland, PO Box 3, Haddington, East Lothian EH41 3TA
Main cover artwork by Mark Wilkinson, graphic design by Neil Dalgleish – from Fishy concepts.
Main Fish photo: David Darling. All other photos by Fish except ‘Perceptions’ – Media Operations, HQ Land Command (Crown Copyright)
Fish is one of the most compelling performers in rock today, and his newest release is perhaps his finest work (as either a solo performer or within the context of his former band, Marillion). Once upon a time Fish’s lyrics were impressionistic and romantically inclined, but he has lately grown increasingly political. His subjects, the tortured souls of a world at war with itself, could easily slip away into cheap typing and self-importance in the hands of a lesser artist. Fish keeps himself honest by questioning everything and everybody, and by avoiding the predictable at all costs. We expect our serious artists to toe the pop liberal PC line when addressing issues of social relevance, but Fish challenges the catechism at every turn, offering up earnest portrayals of people from all sides of the issues. Racists and conspiracy theorists are people, too, and you can’t understand them if you don’t depict them honestly. Sunsets On Empire is a masterful CD, easily #1 in most years. Sam Smith (Rocklist), Dec 1997
Despite years in the wilderness spent nursing an unjustly unfashinable reputation, Fish has finally produced an album to be proud of.
Mixing weighty Led Zep, Pink Floyd and Bowie-influenced moments with contemporary loops and samples, Sunsets is the charasmatic Scotsman’s most relevant work to date.
Co-written with Steve ‘Porcupine Tree’ Wilson, this is a classic slice of British Rock. Catch of the day. 4 out of 5. Paul Rose (Channel 4 teletext), Dec 1997
About bloody time too! Three years, two compilations and about 16 live albums on from ‘Suits’, and the sizeable Scot finally gets back to us with some new songs.
And what songs they are. From the moody and menacing ‘Perception of Johnny Punter’ which builds in tension like the oft-aired cover of Alex Harvey’s ‘Faith Healer’, through ‘Brother 52’ – complete with chorus that installs itself in the head like some cerebral parasite – to the immensely pretty ‘Change of Heart’, which ought to finally eclipse the ubiquitous ‘Kayleigh’ and make the wet one into a household name once more, this is a majestic collection of sumptous soundscapes and perfectly-phrased insights. Anyone who hears this and still dismisses the Haddington Bard as a prog-tainted, folk-inflected antiquity really should stick to Dog Eat Dog.KKKK (4/5). Liam Shiels (Kerrang! magazine), Dec 1997
A chance meeting in Southern France led to Fish being introduced to Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree and No-Man. They started to collaborate and the end result was that Steve co-wrote seven songs with Fish, contributed large amounts of musicianship and also produced the album. Extra musicians were added to Fish’s own band as Steve and Fish attempted to use a cinematic approach, creating a broad and diverse sound full of depth and passion. Avril Mackintosh was brought in to produce Fish’s vocals, while Calum Malcolm (Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout) was used to mix the album as he also had experience in classical music production. Finally, Bob Ludwig mastered the album at his studio in Portland, Maine.
This is Fish’s fifth album since leaving Marillion in 1988 and to my ears is his finest ever achievement, and I include ‘Script For A Jester’s Tear’ in that statement. Considering who was involved it is of little surprise that the production is of the very highest quality, but it is the songs that really matter. Musically and lyrically Fish is at his strongest. Whether he is singing to/about his daughter Tara, or Sarajevo, there is a power and passion that has never really been captured before.
The only fault with this album is that it is so good, so damned near perfect, that the next one cannot possibly be better. Melodic, progressive, call it what you will. I will call it excellent and one of the best albums of any type of music that you will hear this year. Make that this decade. Kevin Rowland Feedback magazine), Dec 1997