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Phish - Farmhouse CD (album) cover




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3.21 | 35 ratings

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3 stars Being a big Phish phan, I tend to be a little more lenient towards reviewing their albums. But I agree with most reviewers here that they are not a major progressive band, but they do have elements in a lot of their music and a few of their earlier albums are on the verge of being progressive. Farmhouse is not very progressive, but does lean more towards a rock/country fusion. There is one track on here that I think has some great progressive qualities, but other than that, it is, for the most part, an enjoyable listen. It is not one of their best albums overall, but it still has some excellent tracks nonetheless.

Most of the best tracks are on the first half of the album. They would be "Farmhouse", "Bug", "Back on the Train", "Heavy Things", and "Gotta Jibboo". After that, the songs aren't quite so interesting and tend to lack much direction and substance until you get to what I think is the best track on the album which is "First Tube". I think the problem here is that the length of the songs are too short and are not given the time to be developed very well. Most of these songs do great in a concert setting because Phish does not worry about time constraints as anyone who has attended their concerts can attest. For example, the track "Piper" is so bad, it just sounds like a lazy attempt to try to fill up the album with a lackluster performance that is supposed to represent a live performance. It's painful for a fan of the band to admit this, but the band was about to enter their least interesting period, but at least this particular album still has enough good music on it to be considered a good album.

The best track as I mentioned earlier, is the progressive instrumental "First Tube". This one is just over 6 minutes and it starts out as if it can't even wait to show itself off. Before the previous track even has a chance to fade out completely, a fast, driving drum beat starts out beating a standard 4/4 time and is joined by other instruments to establish a base for the guitar that will carry the melody. The main melody is not in the standard time, and I have sat transfixed listening to this song trying to count out the meter, but having a very difficult time of it. I think it is something like 15/4 + 17/4 or something crazy like that or it may be some strange conglomeration of triplets. Whatever it is, it works very well even as odd as it sounds. The melody is quite catchy and is repeated in a sort of verse pattern. It makes me wish the rest of the album was as good as this and it brings back the glory days when Phish's studio albums were much better. (Their concerts have always been excellent by the way.)

I think the big issue here was that Phish was trying to reach a wider audience on their studio albums and made the mistake of trying to find a sound that would be more accessible. It was a shame that they had to fall to the corporate pressure, but it has happened to some of the best bands. Like I said, this is still a good album, but even with the good tracks, this still can't reach above 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |


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