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Phideaux - Number Seven CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.03 | 596 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars *Disclosure at bottom

2007 saw the release of the wildly popular Doomsday Afternoon, by Phideaux, as the second part of a trilogy started the previous year with The Great Leap. Not wanting the pressure of following up Doomsday right away, Phideaux decided to record an unrelated album, which culminated in 2009's Number Seven. While not continuing the story of The Great Leap trilogy, from what I've heard of the previous album, the sound should be familiar to fans, and offer an enjoyable listen.

Although not part of a larger piece, Number Seven does tell a standalone story, starring the cover art's Dormouse, as we follow him through his travels. The story, and music, is split into three pieces, though the tale is not really the main draw of Number Seven. With cryptic lyrics that are only vaguely descriptive, and most likely form a metaphor for something else entirely, the music is really what drives the pieces forward. There are lots of memorable themes that get introduced and brought back later, such as the album's main acoustic guitar theme for the Dormouse, which form the basis of the opener, the interlude, and the closer. Unfortunately, while the album opens very strongly with its first act, the second begins to drag a little, and the finale never quite reaches the same heights of excitement and intensity of the introduction.

Act one, and the epic Waiting For the Axe to Fall in particular, is a great piece of music. It's very fluid, and dynamic, with wonderful use of piano themes, and a very satisfying ending that reprises its dark introduction in a grand way. While the following change of pace to a slower track is welcome, it outstays its welcome, and the excitement never picks up again for very long until the end of the third act. The instrumentation itself, although diverse, begins to get stale halfway through. There are electric guitars, synthesizers and saxophones to mix things up here and there, but the piano really dominates the music, which gives Number Seven a much softer and acoustic sound. The piano passages, while always well played and interesting, don't really present anything you haven't heard before once the first act has come to a close.

There are, however, a lot of great, emotional, singular moments tucked away within these later songs as well, and this is where the strength of the vocals comes out. The two vocalists here, Phideaux himself, and Ariel Farber, are a great pair. Phideaux has a pretty laid back singing style that, if he was by himself, would start to tire, but it's contrasted well by Farber's very emotional approach. The two trade off evenly on vocal passages, and though Farber often outshines Phideaux, the penultimate piece, Infinite Supply shows that Phideaux can be just as emotional, and creates what is probably the album's most touching and captivating piece.

If only act two had been able to hold its weight sandwiched between the first and third acts, Number Seven would be a much more compelling album as a whole. What we have instead is a piece with a lot of exciting moments, with a little too many that are less interesting in between. Even if it isn't the best album to listen to as a whole, there is enough good about Number Seven to make it enjoyable overall, and worth a bit of your time.

*The mixing of my album is different from the one listed here. Some of the songs on my copy are combined, but the music is the same; I can hear where the original track changes would happen. My copy has this track listing, and I'll be reviewing it as such:

1. "Dormouse - A Theme" - 1:08

2. "Waiting for the axe to fall" - 19:22

3. "Darkness at Noon" - 3:44

4. "Gift of the Flame" - 6:58

5. "Interview with a Dormouse" - 0:28

6. "Thermonuclear Cheese" - 1:55

7. "The Search for Terrestrial Life" - 8:14

8. "Love Theme From "Number Seven" - 13:50

9. "Infinite Supply" - 4:59

10. "Dormouse - An end - 2:17

m2thek | 3/5 |


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