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Phish - Hoist CD (album) cover




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3.15 | 48 ratings

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3 stars Most of the band's fans agree that this is one of Phish's weakest releases and since I am a phan myself, I tend to agree with this. It is not very progressive and it followed 4 excellent albums, and it was a disappointing release. Phish had gained popularity and was working to expand their audience even more with this albums, but that backfired and fortunately Phish returned to phorm afterwards.

That is not to say this album doesn't have some 5 star songs, but the consistency is sporadic at best. It starts off with an excellent groove and sounds like it is the start of another great album. But halfway through "Julius" things get stuck in this groove and it wears out it's welcome when the entire production lays it on way to thick and the chorus repeats itself ad naseum. The next track "Down with Disease" again shows promise and even though it is a conventional rock song with a hard and somewhat tricky beat, it isn't too bad, at least it's passable. "If I Could" is more of a Alternative Folk style song and even guests Alison Krauss with her beautiful voice. This is one of my favorite Phish songs even though it has nothing to do with progressive music, it is beautiful and sensitive. The strings that make up the climax add to the beauty of this track.

Now the album slips with a short track of noise called "Riker's Mailbox" which has a story attached to it which Phish Phans are familiar with, but it adds nothing. "Axilla Pt. 2" has an annoying chorus but also has a powerful beat that drives the song anyway and a really good and powerful guitar solo, but the song is just weakened by the chorus and that cancels the track out. Next up is "Lifeboy" which is a mellow 7 minute folkish song. Here the singing is too prissy sounding, yet the instrumentals are decent. I have a love-hate relationship with this song.

Moving on, we return to more of the New Orleans style rock sound that dominates the album with "Sample in a Jar" which is a great rocker and another heavy guitar solo which actually works to get the heart beating again. "Wolfman's Brother" is similar but not quite as interesting. "Scent of a Mule" is a silly song that lampoons country music. Usually this works for the band quite well, especially in the album "Rift", but it doesn't work as well here. It's adds a little more variety to this album, but by this time, it is not really a surprise having done the same thing much better in "Rift". "Dog Faced Boy" is boring and the singing is annoyingly naive.

The album finishes up with the only progressive song on the album at over 10 minutes. This is mostly instrumental and features some very tricky rhythms and great improvised guitar, more of what we are expecting from the band. There's even a bit of humor at the end that involves an angelic choir. Unfortunately, this last track doesn't save the album and the few great tracks on the album just isn't enough when so much more is expected. The album is good enough because of the few great tracks, but should not be the introduction to the band. Stick with "Junta", "Rift," or "A Picture of Nectar" as a more representative introduction to the band and then you can move on to "Story of a Ghost" or "Billy Breathes" or "Lawn Boy" from there. Then if you want more, check out there very extensive live discography. This album should be one of the last ones you check out. Only good, but not essential is a great description for "Hoist" 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |


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