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Phideaux The Great Leap album cover
3.30 | 258 ratings | 18 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Wake Up (4:03)
2. You And Me Against A World Of Pain (5:35)
3. The Waiting (3:33)
4. Abducted (6:10)
5. Rainboy (6:15)
6. I Was Thinking (4:24)
7. Long And Lonely Way (4:18)
8. They Hunt You Down (3:54)
9. Tannisroot (4:52)
10. One Star (5:14)
11. Last (5:50)

Total Time: 54:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Ariel Farber / vocals, violin
- Valerie Gracious / vocals
- Molly Ruttan / vocals
- Linda Ruttan / vocals
- Phideaux Xavier / vocals, electric sitar, guitars, Nord Electro 2, Fender Rhodes, autoharp, bass
- Gabriel Moffat / guitar, horns arrangements (2), producer
- Richard Hutchins / drums, percussion

- Arlan Shierbaum / Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano, clavinet, MiniMoog, piano, synthesizer
- Probyn Gregory / theremin, trumpet, flügelhorn, French horn, trombone, horns arrangements (2)
- Biker Helfrostt (?) / flute, recorder, zurna
- Stefanie Fife / cello
- Scott Brannon / dulcimer
- Joe Pusiteri / snare drum
- Derek Leininger / Fx

Releases information

First chapter to the trilogy which will complete with "Doomsday Afternoon" followed by "Infernal"

Artwork: Molly Ruttan

CD Bloodfish Music ‎- zyz-665 (2006, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PHIDEAUX The Great Leap ratings distribution

(258 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PHIDEAUX The Great Leap reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is the first in a trilogy of albums from PHIDEAUX. The subject matter is the enviroment and our governments. As usual Xavier Phideaux and drummer Rich Hutchins compose the songs and then bring in a host of musicians to fill out the sound. So it's no wonder that the vocals and drumming standout the most, and also impress the most I might add. What we have here are accessible songs with great vocals.

"Wake Up" is a very catchy song with some raw sounding guitar. A great way to start. "You And Me Against A World Of Pain" changes 2 minutes in as violin,spacey keys, along with a steady beat lead the way. "The Waiting" is ok, nothing special though. "Abducted" has some meaningful lyrics with Steven Wilson style vocals. 3 minutes in it sounds like crows doing their thing followed by some great guitar. The song calms back down 4 1/2 minutes in. "Rainboy" is such a good tune with vocal melodies, excellent drumming and tempo changes. Some fantastic guitar after 3 minutes and the drummer is having a lot of fun.

"I Was Thinking" features acoustic guitar that is strummed and a good contrast throughout between moods.The vocals go from dramatic to calm to Lennon-like. "Long And Lonely Way" has a PORCUPINE TREE-like intro.The vocals are so good on this song that really has a PORCUPINE TREE vibe to it. "They Hunt You Down" is dark with some female vocal melodies later. "Tannis Root" is moody with some good bass and organ.That all changes 2 1/2 minutes in as it turns brighter. There are some PORCUPINE TREE style synths and the latter half of this song is incredible. "One Star" is a good catchy tune with organ 3 minutes in and some good drumming. The final song "Last" has some powerful lyrics and music.

My favourite songs are "Abducted" ,"Rainboy" and "Long And Lonely Way".This isn't as good as "Chupacabres" in my opinion, but I still recommend it. I wish every prog fan out there would listen to at least one PHIDEAUX record. 3.5 stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars New Wave Prog ?

Yeah, music has evolved into forms and styles that no one had ever predicted before. When people started to get bored with legendary prog music and their promotion on what so called "concept" album, there was an era when punk and new wave music swept the progressive rock movement. New Wave bands came out with such name as Orchestral Maneuver in The Dark (OMD), Duran Duran, B 52s, Mo, Robert Palmer, The Police, Ultravox etc. Those who have inherited the traditional values of legendary prog bands like Genesis, ELP, Pink Floyd, yes, King Crimson would find the new wave / punk music was kind like disgusting. But then there was a movement with some musicians with brilliant ideas like Johny Warman, Rupert Hine, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp etc. who tried to make music of new wave styles with progressive music touches.

But that was the past. On recent days, you might find bands like Radiohead, Sylvan, Carp Tree, Phideaux, Muse, etc. who have tried to marry new wave and prog music. The result is a music under Crossover Prog subgenre, I believe. One thing for sure, for most people, this kind of music is much accessible than the music by vintage prog rock band. In terms of structure, most of them are quite straight forward. So, what makes them progressive then? Well, I guess is there bold ideas to generate a new sub genre under the banner of prog and new wave.

As far as "The Graet Leap" by Phideaux, you might find it even at the very beginning of the album when the opening track "Wake Up" (4:03) gives you a clear image of what this kind of music is all about. It has all simplicity as demanded by new wave music plus a bit of ambience that bring the music forward under prog category. The vocal line is set down at medium register notes to lower ones as the main characteristics of this kind of music.

"You And Me Against A World Of Pain" (5:35) gives the pop psychedelic with the lind of melody it builds from intro part. The interlude / chorus line indicates the change in music style and this is why this kind of music is categorized under progressive genre. The cello instrument makes the music is rich in textures.

The music also provides good accentuation, musically, through the combined grooves, beats and singing style like indicated by the third track "The Waiting" (3:33) where the rhythm section relies heavily on acoustic guitar and keyboard. Phideaux gives its shot to more ambient music with a flavor of space psychedelic music like in "Abducted" (6:10).

The existence of string section like cello makes this record quite unique especially when it's combined with good choirs like presented in "Rainboy" (6:15). To expand their music horizon Phideaux gives "I Was Thinking" (4:24) which relies its rhythm section floating keyboard work. The other tracks are also good ones to enjoy like the one with quite poppy touch "Long And Lonely Way" (4:18) and the mellow one "They Hunt You Down" (3:54). Through this song I can find his vocal line which is similar to those of Sylvan or Rupert Hine.

Overall, this is a good record with quite accessible songs. This album would favor those who like bands such as Sylvan, Carp Tree, Muse, Radiohead. It might not favor those who adore Genesis, Yes or any other vintage symphonic prog music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Menswear
3 stars Part One.

Doomsday Afternoon is a masterpiece, end of the line. But before, there was The Great Leap, and it's not a masterpiece, sorry. It's a collection of songs from good to so-so.

What I critize about this album is that Phideaux is using some really good melodies (super intros and great lines of e-piano, mellotron, analog keyboards and flute) and quickly making a time change for a mediocre segment or chorus. I say when you have a good melody, try to exploit it and not making time changes for the sake of being more 'progressive'; this way you have more good moments and more hooks to get attached to.

Again, you can spot the Pink Floyd references miles from here a la Momentary Lapse of Reason. It's not a bad album per se, it's just that it lacks some inspiration and creativity in terms of short songs.

Some say that writing a short song is harder than an epic, well with the Great Leap we have a proof that Phideaux is mastering the long epics than the short and entertaining songs.

Let's hope for the best for the final chapter of the trilogy; the score is 1 victory vs. 1 defeat.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Phideaux brought mixed feelings to my ears. From poor to very good and then back to average...It was difficult to know what to expect from this new Phideaux album.

Wake Up holds all the might of a great and powerful new-wave tune (don't forget that the man started his career in this genre). A sustainable and highly energetic track. I hope you would like it as much as I do.

When one listens to the early tracks of this album, it is obvious that the folkish and dull mood of its predecessor ("313") is all gone. What we get here, are more straight forward songs, more rhythms, more fun.

Several songs are on the heavy edge as well. But this is no novelty: same took place during "Ghost Story". As far as I am concerned, I far much prefer these harder sounds than the mellowish and uninspired ones form Phideaux prior release. All the mighty and melody of "Rainboy" is such a pleasure to listen to.

The whole mood of this album is on par. This is prog music on the hard side. The melodic parts are not alien, but they are rather shortly formatted if you take the whole into consideration.

This "Great Leap" is an album full of dynamics, which is probably not the essence of the man ("Long And Lonely Way"); but which is more than welcome IMO. There are an awful lot of catchy songs in here. They are mostly passionate, which I have always considered as quite an achievement ("They Hunt You Down").

Phideaux's music is very personal. There is nothing as pastiche or borrowed music from the seventies in here. A fresh and innovative album, that's it. But no masterpiece either. This album is not really on the prog edge; it is more of a modern rock release ("Tannis Root", "One Star").

This album is actually in the middle of the road in terms of "Phideaux". Not as strong as"Ghost Story", not as prog and creative as "Chupacabras"; it is still a pleasant musical moment and should deserve much more attention than six reviews with comments.

Three stars for this good rock album.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars A varied and not entirely cohesive album, "The Great Leap" seems like a necessary step along the road to graduation to full-fledged progressive artist for Phideaux, and a farewell to his less evolved past.

On first listen I felt it was altogether too loud at any volume, but this seems to have had more to do with the relative ruckus raised here when compared to "Doomsday Afternoon", not to mention that the opener "Wake Up" is decibel rich glam meets new wave rocker, betraying the man's heritage but with some style and aplomb. By contrast, "Rainboy" sports heavy rhythm guitars and leads with little distinction. The plod rock of Pink Floyd is too close at hand too often, like on "Abducted", which later picks up the pace but still without interest. "I was Thinking" opts more for the spacier aspects and mantra like chorus which make it far more intriguing. But "Tannis Root" sounds absurdly like Thompson Twins. Too many tracks plumb the depths of banality.

One of the higher energy numbers that works well is "One Star". And Phideaux sounds best when playing up the Al Stewart meets Donovan's universal soldier, as in "You and Me against a World of Pain" with its orchestral touches that sound like a dress rehearsal for "Doomsday Afternoon", and especially the lush magnificent closer aptly titled "Last".

No great leap, this Phideaux effort is more like a small step that barely hints at what was to come, and is only half interesting in its own right. 2.5 stars rounded down.

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars The important thing to understand about this album is that, yes, while it is thematically linked to Doomsday Afternoon, an album which most Phideaux fans find to be his masterpiece, it is not musically linked at all--or even in the same vein, really.

I think that many people discover Doomsday Afternoon, find they really enjoy the way it sounds, notice the connection between these two, and then find themselves terribly disappointed that The Great Leap isn't Doomsday Afternoon Mk I. What we have here, instead of massive symphonic prog with heavy orchestration, is a much simpler, more rock- oriented prog offering. It may be, in fact, Phideaux's overall heaviest release. The female vocals are much less present here, one the primary weakening factors. Nevertheless, on the whole, this is on the high end of Phideaux's quality scale, behind his last two, but ahead of those that came before it.

The Great Leap opens with Wake Up, a half-anthemic piece driven by a nonstandard but still rather catchy chorus. You and Me Against a World of Pain is a simplistic song, quieter and slower than its predecessor, tinged with emotional sorts of lyrics and a strong sense of earnest. The Waiting is probably the closest connection between Phideaux and The Decemberists, a connection which I see in most releases yet no one else really seems to agree with. Nevertheless, the song is eerie and stately. Abducted is the first song that does not fully impress, being similar to the first two tracks but not quite standing on its own. Rainboy is the highlight of the album for me, being both the most progressive and the hardest rocking. A rare guitar solo (over a pretty grooving vamp) marks the middle passage. Phideaux's vocals are in top form here, it must be noted. Long and Lonely Way adds in some wonderful vocals (with the females taking a much stronger presence) and a quality melody, but after its predecessor, kind of falls to the wayside. The songs from this point forward are less memorable, though all still good. One Star is a particularly evocative piece, single-handedly keeping the last few tracks from being skipped by me.

Anyone who is a fan of Phideaux, especially albums like Ghost Story or 313, will find plenty to love in The Great Leap. Fans of Doomsday Afternoon and Number Seven who disdain less proggy ventures might find themselves not enjoying it as much as they hoped they would. A strong recommendation, however, and a strong desire to see this album be listened to for its own quality rather than in hopes of it sounding like more Doomsday Afternoon.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Great Leap doesn't measure up to the creative enthusiasm of Chupacabras, but it's a great collection of separate short songs, reminiscent of early Bowie and Hammill's Fool's Mate.

The trademark Phideaux elements are in place. Cleverly orchestrated eclectic prog-pop, that takes inspiration from an endless well of sources. There's lots of decent songwriting and a charming playfulness that hasn't graced rock music since Syd Barrett became too drowsed to tell a piper from a bike.

The first batch of songs especially is very pleasant. They are as harmless as Phideaux's usual folk songs but he tries to give them a gruff edge which is quite charming. It's almost as if he wants to impersonate Peter Gabriel on The Waiting. On the opener Wake Up it seems he even tries to create a Pogues punk-folk vibe. The strong string of songs ends with Abducted and Rainboy that have a touching melancholic mood.

The remainder of the album goes a bit up and mainly down. I Was Thinking and Long and Lonely Way feature fairly standard and rather old-baked pop songwriting. They Hunt You Down and Tannis Root are slightly better, but One Star and Last are entirely conform to their respective song titles.

The Great Leap is an uneven album with a couple of nice tracks. Good for an occasional spin. However, playing it 2 times in a row to do this review already proved quite tiresome. I guess there's not enough substance for true greatness here. Fun for as long as it lasts.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Don't get me wrong, it's a good rock album. It just is not particularly progressive.

However this album relates to Doomsday Afternoon, it is not easy to see. It rarely points to its successor musically or lyrically and sounds like Phideaux's older albums with much better production. (Which is one of the main things which makes the sound so good)

Pretty much every song is at least decent and I don't have to make myself skip any. There are even some truly great pieces on this, Rainboy noticeably, which somewhat starts to suggest Doomsday Afternoon. I Was Thinking is one of the more prog efforts and is another great track as well.

Look, I love this album (I'm an enthusiast about pretty much any piece of music I'm given) but it's not his best work and is not his most progressive work.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Phideaux's 2006 release, The Great Leap, is part of the same trilogy as Doomsday Afternoon, but listening to the two back to back, one might be surprised to discover this.

Sure, the artwork is pretty similar in style, but the music - wow! What a difference! Where Doomsday Afternoon was close to Symphonic Prog in many ways, The Great Leap is in essence a guitar/song based album. Many of the elements that made Doomsday so great (rich texture, female vocals, high drama) are not featured as prominently in this album. If one listens, they will find hints of each of these aspects, but the core of each song here is guitar and Phideaux's own vocals (where, in his more recent ones, he's given a lot more space to female vocalists).

The surprising thing is that, while this album is carried by the guitar and vocals, it doesn't really feel like it's lacking anything as a result. For the type of music that is present on this disc, this approach works very well. The band is capable of creating a large range of sounds, from somewhat eerie, to wistful and angry - and, more than on the follow-up, just straight up hard-rocking. The lyrics are still great.

There are no bad songs on this album - each one has something unique that makes it stand out - but the tracks that stand out, in particular, to me are the bookends (Wake Up, You And Me Against a World of Pain at the beginning, One Star and Last at the end) with Rainboy being the best track in the middle of the album.

Listening to this album also adds value to the experience of Doomsday Afternoon - while stylistically, the music between the two is quite different, they are supposed to be part of a trilogy, and to the careful listener, there are links between to the two. For example, in Microdeath Softstar (off of Doomsday), there is a part where the female vocals sing "You ?. against them, you against them". This is a reference to the end of "You And Me Against a World of Pain", where Phideaux sings, "Will it be you, you, against them, will it be you, against them?"

Overall, quite a good album, much closer to rock than prog but enjoyable from beginning to end.

Review by russellk
2 stars With a few lessons learned from the previous album, 'Chupacabras', but a few more to learn, 'The Great Leap' is sadly more of a small step.

The album starts off well: 'Wake Up' does exactly that, a good, solid, 80s-tinged rock track. But from there the album sags, the too-loud production forcing every song at you rather than letting the music do the work. Phideaux Xavier's vocals are improving, no doubt of that, but there's still more whine or reserved irony than anything else in his voice. This has the effect - for me, anyway - of defusing any intensity generated by the music. The drummer, who co-wrote much of the material, is very much to the forefront here, and sadly his overwrought work further degrades the sound.

'Rainboy' is an excellent if predictable track, and I can only imagine how good it would be with a better vocalist and production - oh yeah, and killing off that dreadful synth solo. Other songs, such as 'They Hunt You Down' sound Floydishly portentious but do not deliver on their promise.

The album is supposedly the first of a trilogy. A dangerous thing to promise, a trilogy, especially if your enthusiasm doesn't last a full three albums, or your chops improve dramatically between one album and the next. I'm guessing that the former happened in PHIDEAUX's case - they've released two albums since the second of the trilogy, after all - but there's no doubt about the latter. The improvement after this album is marked, so if you must try this band, start with their next album.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Perhaps my least favourite of the Phideaux albums I have sampled so far, The Great Leap was apparently recorded in the same sessions as the brilliant Doomsday Afternoon - in which case I can only regard The Great Leap as a warm-up exercise, because nothing on there really compares to the brilliance of its followup either in terms of style (Doomsday Afternoon is a symphonic affair built around long songs, this offers up an artsy sort of occasionally-Gothy alternative rock) or quality. It's not terrible - I listen to the end and feel broadly satisfied, there aren't any songs which I find myself desperate to skip - but it's not brilliant either. I guess Phideaux realised after these two that their proggy side is really where their heart is because both Number 7 and Snowtorch have concentrated on that rather than trying to continue the side of their sound that's expressed on here.

Latest members reviews

2 stars The noise of a jack that connects a guitar to the amplifier. It's the first thing you hear, and it is indicative of the style of the album. An album deliberately rough and crude (in some ways minimalist) and unfortunately, in my opinion, not very successful. "The Great Leap" is the first ... (read more)

Report this review (#964398) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Thursday, May 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is indicative of the early writing style for PHIDEAUX, I feel, warts and all. A preoccupation with gothic sounds and progressive music, but no solid ideas yet as to how to best mix them. There are great riffs here, great lines, great melodies, but they never seem to come together all a ... (read more)

Report this review (#409044) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've had a tough time deciding whether to give this album a three or a four. Ultimately I decided to go with a three. In my mind it isn't able to live up to albums like Chupacabras and Number 7 which I would consider to be firm fours; never mind the triumph that is Doomsday Afternoon. The Great Le ... (read more)

Report this review (#303829) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After hearing DOOMSDAY AFTERNOON, I ran out and got anll other Phideaux that I could find. I was expecting a lot from THE GREAT LEAP, being that it was the previous album to DOOMSDAY and had a cover similarity. But... the similarity ends there. DOOMSDAY was a masterpiece and my favorite album ... (read more)

Report this review (#296283) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, August 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not my favourite Phideaux album, but it's really grown more interesting with repeated listens. Alice Cooper meets The Wall era Pink Floyd...sort of. There isn't really enough use of light and shade, so dramatically it falls a bit flat. It also needs a bit more variety instrumentation wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#266796) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Is this part one of the Infernal? If 'Doomsday Afternoon' was a poster child of a Masterpiece, 'The Great Leap' is a poster child of a four star album. All the songs are excellent, and each to them selves are beautiful. You can put 'The Great Leap' on and not have to worry about skipping any ... (read more)

Report this review (#165327) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Saturday, March 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Phideaux is perhaps the most exciting musical discovery I've made the last few years. After going through several years where I found myself growing weary of the more well-known modern prog bands and what seems like an endless recycling of prog-rock cliches, Phideux is a true gem in that he has ... (read more)

Report this review (#92773) | Posted by rpmartino | Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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