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Phideaux - The Great Leap CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.30 | 248 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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