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Phideaux - Fiendish CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.18 | 140 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Listening to the earlier efforts of PHIDEAUX first as samples and then on disk, I am reminded of what I coined years ago, non verbally, as the "radio effect". This phenomenon describes how good music can sound great when listened to in juxtaposition with the average dross out there, but when compared with one's own hand-plucked collection, its sheen diminishes somewhat. Still, "Fiendish" demonstrates the man's range of influences and establishes him as a singular artist with a sound very much his own. The epics and recurring themes aren't here yet, but his simple yet eerie folkie meets glam delivery offers many pleasures. At this stage PHIDEAUX handles his material best with sparse acoustic arrangements and understated embellishments as opposed to multilayered vocals and synthesizers.

The sequencing of "Animal Games" and "100 mg" possesses its own theatrical impact, each song being oddly similar in melody and mood, and representing the best of the disk. "Hellphone" sits comfortably as a precursor to his more ornate work, and while it doesn't have much time to develop, it sticks. "Headstones" reminds me of MAGNA CARTA meets DONOVAN, but with a dark side we would expect from Phideaux. Another highlight is "Vultures and Mosquitoes", returning us to the off kilter style of "Animal Games".

Unfortunately, Phideaux runs into more than his share of dead ends this time around, especially when his BOWIE influence insinuates itself a bit too forcefully, as in "Little Monster", or when he prototypes his more ambitious future styles in the last 2 numbers, which are just drab FLOYDian exercises at a point when Phideaux is essentially just a folkie with attitude.

While you need not be a complete Phideaux fiend to enjoy this disk, it helps if you have a penchant for acoustic based prog, or an interest in the man's roots.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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