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Phideaux - Number Seven CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.02 | 515 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars It was the free mp3 of 'Hive Mind/Claws of a Crayfish" off of his website that made me feel it was very important that I begin exploring Phideaux's music by acquiring his latest album.

As is normal for me, I spent my first bit of time looking at the packaging, enjoying the many images of dormouse fighting crayfish within the liner notes. It also piqued my curiosity - why are they fighting? What is this album about? Either way, I knew I was going to have a lot of fun following the lyrics as I listened to this album.

Since the first time I listened to it, I have been unable to stop (similar to how Moon Safari's Blomljud effected me). While not as good as Blomljud overall, this album is definitely up there, and currently my favorite release so far this year (although I have a fair amount of listening to do still).

The CD is split into three sections. The name of each section gives hints as to what the album is about.

Dormouse Ensnared starts off with a very nice sounding guitar bit, and leads into four songs that are hard to separate from one another. They are replete with catchy vocals, melodic instrumentation, and excellent drumming. And there are female vocals! I think that, with so many prog bands (almost all actually) having only male vocalists, this album having female vocals gives it a unique texture. In total, there are three female singers on this album, and multiple male vocalists, giving the vocals a very varied feel. I really do appreciate bands like this, that take care to give their vocals a lot of feel.

The four continuous tracks are quite wonderful; the second half of Waiting for the Axe to Fall is an excellent instrumental section with truly interesting drumming that leads beautifully into the piano intro of Hive Mind (which I find impossible to separate from the next song, Claws of a Crayfish; not just because I originally heard them both together, but because they actually share musical themes). The lyrics are also interesting; my favorite line from this section is "You and I were talking, as if we were alive." Such a nice, thoughtful lyric.

The second part of the album also contains a group of songs that flow together like a single song, but prior to that it has a couple songs that stand out as individual songs a bit more. These are short and pleasant, but it is with Gift of the Flame that this section really kicks off. Once again, Phideaux is combining interesting lyrics, great music, vocals, and interesting drumming to really build a nice atmosphere of music. This leads into the faery-tale-esque "Interview with a Dormouse", a simple acoustic part with a theme that will be repeated at the closing of the album to great effect.

Of course, next is Thermonuclear Cheese, perhaps one of the most interestingly titled tracks on the album. It was also available for download on the website (with The Search for Terrestrial Life and Fistful of Fortitude in the same mp3). It's pretty much a fun little instrumental bit that leads into what I feel to be a really atmospheric song (The Search for Terrestrial Life), where a female singer explains the Cambrian era. It always brings me straight into the depths of the ocean, watching all these hundreds of thousands of life forms blinking in and out of existence. Truly magical music.

The end of the album features the two longest individual songs: Love Theme From "Number Seven", an excellent instrumental piece, and Storia Senti, which is also mostly instrumental. While Storia Senti is not as interesting musically as the prior instrumental sections, it is still an excellent piece of music.

Infinite Supply probably gets my vote for weakest track on the album, although on this album that still makes it a good listen. Dormouse - An End reprises the theme from Interview with a Dormouse, although it is a bit more bleak in outlook. Definitely a solid way to end the album.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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