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Anthony Phillips - Sides CD (album) cover

SIDES

Anthony Phillips

 

Symphonic Prog

3.03 | 78 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Brendan
3 stars The only reason I can quantify for giving three stars is that 'Good, not essential' is not really how I feel about this album but it's the closest rating I can find. I probably could rate it around three and a half with 'Excellent, essential, but WITH FLAWS'

Actually, it's semi-essential, and, then again, I'm more appreciative of 'prog-pop' than most of the reviewers here, so probably it is just 'good - not essential' for the common progger.

The album begins with an off-kilter disco-rock song, YES YOU HEARD IT RIGHT an 'off-kilter disco-rock song', 'Um and argh'. It's not a bad song, with strange lyrics about berri-berri (the disease). It's followed by Dan Owens singing the tender love song 'I want your love'. Okay, this is a bit like bread, but it's such a lovely song... it's followed by another gentle, folky love song, the quaint 'Lucy Will'. Then there's another disco-rock song, 'Slide door', which isn't quite as good as 'Um and argh'. It's not as if these guys give the vocals prominence in the mix, so it's often hard to hear the vocals or what they're saying, but not too bad, considering it keeps such company as 'A Curious feeling' and 'Smallcreeps day'.

'Holy Deadlock' is kinda reggae (hey, I haven't mentioned prog yet, sorry) and has humorous lyrics that analyse marriage and divorce from a tongue-in-cheek perspective. The vocals aren't that strong but it's a good song.

The Sisters of Remindum .. here we have it at last... a 'prog' instrumental. A glorious one at that, full of dramatic piano and swerving instrumental sections.

And my favourite two tracks on the album follow. Bleak house is possibly the brightest spot on the album. Now, it's sung by 'Dale Newman', who sounds a bit like Barry Manilow (You knew if someone was going to mention the evil, dreaded man on progarchives it would be me). But this song is more complex and classically inclined (if not quite outright progressive), and more sincere. Sure it will bore the tears out of some people, but if you like classical music inspired ballads and a heart-wrenching love story, then it will hit the spot.

'Nightmare' is a true and tried progressive rock track. It's very basic, actually, just a simple guitar progression, which keeps getting repeated throughout, but with a different chord each time, creating a nice effect.

Magdalene is also a terrific song, a meandering acoustic ballad about a lost love, but It'd be nice if the vocals were a bit louder in the mix. I guess reaching over seven minutes, it could also be seen as somehow progressive.

So there you have it. It's NOT THAT PROGRESSIVE, there's a few hit and miss steps along the way, with ant trying to widen his repertoire by experimenting with new genre's.

However, I am continually surprised at just HOW DANG TERRIFIC he is at writing a melodious, heartfelt ballad. He's up there with Harrison and McCartney in that respect. 'UI want your love' is such a sweet song you'd think it came off someone's greatest hits collection, maybe Bread. A nice varied work, worthy of three and a half stars

Brendan | 3/5 |

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