A fresh citrus fruit has an addicting taste, not unlike the sound of Fishmans’ lead singer in their album “Orange.” Fishmans uses the keyboard among Shinji Sato’s vocals, bass and guitar to create a beautiful dreamy reggae sound that brings in the clouds to block the oppressive sunlight of reality.
Their fourth studio album, “Orange”, is my favorite to return to. It has all of the reggae sounds like steel drums and beats that I love, which is combined with Shinji Sato’s iconic vocals. “Orange” was released in 1994 under Media Remoras.
For Fishmans, they had much trouble with the comings and goings of band members, producers and record companies. On the album, Shinji Sato does the vocals and plays acoustic guitar with Yuzuru Kashiwabara (bass, chorus), Kin-Ichi Motegi (drums, percussion, chorus) and Hakase-Sun (keyboards, chorus). A guest electric guitarist, Sugar Yoshinaga, also appears in various tracks throughout the album.
Peeling Open “Orange”
“Kibun” basically starts off the album, and it does so with a pop, reggae and electric fervor. The vocal repetitions bring constant joy to my ears. Shinji’s voice and lyrics are elegant as they bounce up and down smooth as butter.
In “My Life”, simple lyricism brings simple and pure joy. Fishmans creates a pop tune that exudes exuberance. The keyboard steps us into life and beauty with the beginning of the track and sweeps us into a journey filled with the sound of people living.
As one of my favorite songs of all time, “Melody” stands out on this album. It jumps right into the action of music and all the joy it brings. Epic percussion backs up an electric guitar that shreds perfect little rhythms.
The track flows and pierces me quickly. I’d be surprised to hear from anyone that this song didn’t even make them tap their toes to the beat.
A slower track on a fast paced album tends to stand out or drift into the background. I think “Kaerimichi” found its place by blending in the rushed and jumpy first half of “Orange” with the other dreamier half of the album.
One Last Bite
After diving back into this album to write about it, I already cannot stop myself from listening to it again and again. Fishmans’ sound is intoxicating to my ears. If the last song I ever got to listen to in my life was a Fishmans track, my ears and soul could be at rest with that.
“Orange” is so fresh even at 28 years of age. If you’ve never taken the time to listen to Fishmans at all, or if you’ve only listened to their later albums, I cannot encourage you enough to peel open “Orange” and taste its addictive sweetness.