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Phish - A Picture Of Nectar CD (album) cover




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3.73 | 59 ratings

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4 stars Here is one band I wish had written serious Prog. There is no doubt they could have done it and this album shows perfectly why. Now, before you go on thinking Phish is a Grateful Dead wannabe, just check that pre-conception at the door and listen to this album. Especially if you are one who is a musician or can grasp music theory. A Picture of Nectar is an album that should get revisited when teaching music. It is very reflective of all those things a trained musician has learned through the years. Remember when listening, these guys do not take themselves or their music too seriously, so it may come off as goofy. But if you peel away this silly surface, a wonderfully sweet fruit exists within.

"Llama" is just plain fun. Fast, happy, and one to get your foot tapping. You may find yourself singing "taboot, taboot" when it is over. It is the perfect starting chapter in this book as it sets the tone for what's to come.

"Eliza" is a short jazzy instrumental guitar ode, sprinkled with segments from the rest of the band and musically travels through key changes with grace.

"Cavern", another silly tune, is completely meaningless lyrically. "Give the director a serpent deflector A mudrat detector, a ribbon reflector, A cushion convector, a pitcher of nectar, A virile dissector, a hormone collector"? Another toe tapper indeed.

Oh my god, get ready to smile! "Poor Heart" is a visit to Appalachia music. But make no mistakes about this song. These guys really start showing off their talent in composition and execution of different genres.

Get ready for some Latin grooving. "Stash", my favorite track on this CD comes very close to Prog. Talk about syncopation. Very nice. Listen to the simple high hat pattern in comparison to the guitar work. Is it two time signatures overlaid or syncopation? But song has evolving events, both musically and vocally. It ends with a guitar lead jam signature of the band. This is a treat!

OK, "Manteca" is more silliness and simply pointless. It was actually composed by Dizzy Gillespie.

"Guelah Papyrus" is a bouncy tune with funk tendencies. When you get to the middle of the song during the trade off soloing between keys and guitar, you are given a very nice taste of musical exploration. I think of the musicians playing blindfolded while on a slow moving rollercoaster when listening.

Instrumental "Magilla" is a short jazzy piece that is fun and reminiscent of Las Vegas lounge bands. Onto "The Landlady", yet another instrumental, this time offering a salsa feel. If it had a conga drum, I could almost imagine Ricky Ricardo playing along.

Another highlight comes next with "Glide". The syncopated percussion pattern amazes me. Who is this drummer and why is he not recognized by the masses? So far he has been showing some tasty beats, not over-played ala Portnoy mind you, but strictly to the point and usually difficult or requiring intense concentration by any veteran drummer.

Time to rock with the funky "Tweezer". Yup, another set of silly lyrics, by who cares? You'll soon find yourself singing along. No incredible musician prowess here, just kick back jamming.

"The Mango Song" as the title suggest has a slight Caribbean feel. While this is not a bad song, per se, it is not necessarily a good one. Somewhat of a let down after the previous frolic is silliness. But that is OK. Why? Because...

"Chalkdust Torture" arrives in a nick of time! Straight forward rocker whose chorus harkens back to the days of bemoaning in class. "Can't I live while I'm young?" What really hooks me in this song is the addition of extra measures when you didn't expect them. And the guitar jam in the middle "rules"!

Another instrumental "Faht" is pointless but again, very short. And a short accapela tune follows offering little.

The "Tweezer Reprise" finishes off the album nicely, summing up the experience.

I highly recommend this album. It sounds fun and spontaneous collectively. Give it a go, and tell me what you know.

Oh, and I'd rate this 4.5/5 if I could. I play this album once a month.

StyLaZyn | 4/5 |


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