Review: Bill Fisher ‘How To Think Like A Billionaire’

In a just world, Bill Fisher would be seen as a member of rock’s newest royalty. A wholly dynamic and eccentric Nottingham-based troubadour whose role as the frontman/high priest of the Church Of The Cosmic Skull is just as impressive as his solo career. 2020’s Mass Hypnosis And The Dark Triad was one of my favorite records of recent memory, an utterly unique blend of rock and metal stylings that still escapes categorization in my mind to this day.

Bill Fisher 'How To Think Like A Billionaire' Artwork
Bill Fisher ‘How To Think Like A Billionaire’ Artwork

2021’s Hallucinations Of A Higher Truth was a completely different affair, a guitar-less piano-driven ode to the blue eyed soul of Michael McDonald and the quirky jazz rock of Leon Russell. It says a lot when you simply cannot predict where an artist will go from their last work. With How To Think Like A Billionaire, Fisher invites us on a time machine journey back to the mid-to-late ’80s for his take on what us Yanks refer to as AOR rock (Adult Oriented Radio or Arena Oriented Rock).

With a splash of synth keyboard and Fisher’s trademark baritone croon, Overview Effect will immediately remind listeners of Asia. It’s an uplifting track that seems bent on being the prelude to one of those montage scenes in ‘80s movies where the hero prepares to shape up. Ride On, Unicorn is a Journey sans Steve Perry on vocals with wonderfully cheesy lyrics and a spirited guitar solo that strikes me as much less pretentious than something Neil Schon would play.

The piano of Consume The Heart frames what seems to be a ballad but later turns lighter-holding audience hands into pumping fists as it revs up the aggressive guitar in the latter half. Part of me hoped Xanadu would be a cover of the classic Rush song of the same name, but it turns out to be a Steve Winwood-esque number that also adds some riff distortion amidst its jazzy lounge stylings.

Fisher invites us on a time machine journey back to the mid-to-late ’80s for his take on what us Yanks refer to as AOR rock…

Beast Of Man is one of the more memorable numbers. The low-fi guitar solo and the pairing of Fisher’s vocal and keyboard melodies really adds some good atmosphere. It easily could have been a mainstream radio hit in 1987. But thank the gods, Yell Of The Ringman gives us some heavy doom intermingled with some soulful elements. This is where Fisher sounds at his best and is a welcome breath of fresh air. Intranaut and Lead Us Into The Fire bring us back to AOR territory, with the aforementioned track making strong use of layered vocals to create an impressive wall of harmonized singing.

Admittedly I didn’t enjoy How To Think Like A Billionaire as much as previous offerings for the simple reason that this brand of synth-laden 80s rock isn’t my bag. It brings back fond nostalgia of my childhood memories, but it isn’t a style that I tend to seek out. Even so, Fisher performs it with such a sense of genuine sincerity coupled with his eccentric flourishes that one cannot help but be impressed by it.

I firmly believe Fisher to be one of the most unique artists in underground rock today and hopefully first-time listeners will be intrigued to explore more of his work. This album probably won’t make you think like a billionaire, but it should raise your spirits and perhaps fuel your own personal montage scene.

Label: Septaphonic Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh