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Phish - The Story Of The Ghost CD (album) cover




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3.48 | 43 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Phrankie says "relax"

This 1998 follow up to the acclaimed "Billy breathes" saw Phish indulging themselves even deeper in the studio jams from which their album tracks would emerge. In this instance, not only did the sessions lead to this album, but also to "The Skillet disc" released a year later. The process this time involved the band listening to playbacks of the lengthy jam sessions, and composing songs based on parts which appealed to them.

The opening "Ghost" reminded me of the 70's bands Hot Chocolate and 10cc, with a soft funky beat and dual lead vocals combining to create a highly commercial piece of pop. "Birds of a feather" continues the 10cc style, the added brass intermingling with lead guitar and repeated vocal harmonies in an ever increasing cacophony of sound. Things take an unfortunate but marked dip with "Meat", a Steely Dan like jazz funk number.

The longest track on the album by far is the 8 minute "Guyute". The track sets out as a light pop orientated piece before bizarrely breaking into a Fairport Convention like guitar led jig. From there it mutates again into a retro style guitar thrash, somewhere between "Orange blossom special" and "Sabre dance". While certainly the most interesting track on the album, for me it only works up to a point, perhaps because it falls into the old 10cc trap of clever for clever's sake.

Unfortunately, there are just too many of the understated soft pop outings here for my tastes, "Fikus", and "Limb by limb" being further examples. "Frankie says" is presumably some sort of tribute to "Frankie Goes to Hollywood", the word "Relax" being prevalent in this song. The link is purely lyrical though, the song being far more downbeat than the target of the homage. "Brian and Robert" is a strange title for more of the same.

"Water in the sky" moves into distinctly country rock territories, but it does at least lift the pace and offer something with a bit of spirit for a couple of minutes. "Roggae" is presumably a clever amalgamation of rock and reggae or something like that. In the end though, it simply returns us to the bland pop.

"Wading in the velvet sea" has a pleasant soft refrain, but the over-repeating of the title is unnecessary. "The momma dance" is a further indulgence in repetitive light funk, the album closing with the brief "End of session".

In all, a disappointing Phish album, which appears to indicate that the band have had all the vitality sucked out of them. This is nothing more than a collection of bland songs with primarily funky foundations. The only exception of note is "Guyute", but even this is below par.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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