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Phideaux - 313 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.46 | 165 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars It's March 13th, 2011, and so I thought I'd be super incredibly clever by offering a review of Phideaux's 313, which was (so I have read), composed and recorded in one day, March 13th, 2004, and then released exactly two years later, on March 13th, 2006. The timing of this recording instills in it a Chupacabras-light vibe, as the sound is comparable, but the compositions are much less involved, seemingly hearkening back to the 1960s, which is to say, keeping the material buoyant and entertaining, but throwing in a sociopolitical/environmental message or two. Many of the chord progressions are between the albums are quite similar. If one takes pleasure in the music ELO (ELeaux?) or Toto (Toteaux?), I would recommend this. It's no secret that there are far superior albums from Phideaux, but 313 is by no means a bad one!

"Railyard" It is interesting to me that the first track of an album that was supposedly more or less recorded in one day sounds like quintessential Phideaux. With the recognizable piano style, the distinct vocals, and the otherwise moderate instrumentation, 313's opener is quite prototypical of Phideaux's overall work.

"Have You Hugged Your Robot?" The second track begins with a rock rendition of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Edvard Grieg's score for Peer Gynt. Otherwise, it is fairly catchy but simplistic rock tune with cute Vocoder "robotic" vocals.

"A Storm of Cats" Following in line with the first track, "A Storm of Cats" uses a moderate tempo and similar sounds from "Railyard."

"Never Gonna Go" I enjoy this song, especially because of the use of strings and the pleasant vocal melody.

"Pyramid" A synthesizer lead over Toto-like piano gives way to a strange yet strangely enjoyable vocal performance (due in equal measure to the melody as the effects used).

"There's Only One of You" Light piano and hushed vocals provide the backbone for this track. It reminds me of Dave Mason's "Headkeeper."

"Orangutan" As a low-key dirge bemoaning the extinction of primates (and by extension, I suppose, humans), I'm not sure that I can say I really like the song, but I can say this slow lament was one of the songs that stood out the first time I heard the album (not really sure why).

"Sick of Me" Once again, this could have been a leftover track from Chupacabras; it contains good vocal interplay and a sitar tone that distances an otherwise similar piece from the rest of this album. The robotic vocals make a reappearance over an intriguing chord progression.

"In Search of Bitter Ore" A muffled, subdued tune, this simplistic track is one of the more forgettable ones, hovering over two chords most of the time.

"Body to Space" Soft pianos and a lonely, frail voice begin one of the quietest pieces on the album. Electric piano, synthetic bass and strings, whistling synthesizer, celestial singing, and acoustic guitar fuse psychedelic and folk music in a pleasing, ethereal way.

"Watching Machine" Right here is a clear, unashamed revisiting of the psych-pop of the 1960s, even going so far as to use a thin, fuzzy lead guitar and a tackily retro keyboard tone.

"Run Singing Tiger" After a subdued, female-led introduction, this piece keeps in line with the 1960s pop vibe- upbeat and fun.

"Benediction" The calmest track on the album, featuring mere piano and tranquilly dreary singing, is, I think, a strange way to conclude an otherwise bubbly album, but maybe the implicit message here is that no matter how much fun we have, there will always be serious issues to deal with. The enigmatic lyrics (organized as a trio of couplets), ends with a sobering yet hopeful thought: "We cheat the death that night will bring by everyday awakening."

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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