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Phish - Round Room CD (album) cover

ROUND ROOM

Phish

 

Prog Related

3.38 | 38 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Phriends again

Following the release of the "Farmhouse" album and "The Skillet disc" of left overs in 2000, Phish took their first extended break since their formation. Two years later, the band were back, initially as a live act. As was their normal practice, they indulged in lengthy rehearsal jams in the studio, this album being put together in just three days and consisting entirely of edits from those jams. Unlike previous albums, the band did not use the jams to inspire tighter compositions, they simply extracted what they thought were the best bits from the jams. The most obvious thing about this album is therefore the unusually long nature of some of the tracks, with three running to 10 minutes or more.

To call these jams though is in reality stretching it a bit. There are defined compositions here, both musically and lyrically. The opening "Pebbles and marbles", which runs to over 11 minutes, is a mix of jazzy noodling and lyrical pop. It certainly builds nicely, with some appealing piano and lead guitar. The track is rather out of character for a Phish studio album, finding more in common with their famed live performances. As such, it leans much more towards prog than the bulk of the band's studio output.

Thereafter, things tend to resort to more orthodox Phish, the following "Anything but me" for example being a pleasant if utterly harmless soft ballad. The album is a mix of toe-tapping pop and those softer ballads, "Friday" almost being a continuation of "Anything but me". It does feature some nice lead guitar backed by organ though.

The next piece of interest really is "Seven below", an 8+ minute loose jam which drifts along nicely if rather inoffensively. "46 days" is one of the better tracks, and was one of the first from the album to be performed live. In terms of the music, the song is basic American rock, with nods to bands such as the Allman brothers and something of a retro feel. On the downside, "Mock song" may have resulted in a decent Phish song had it been developed, but as it stands it is a real low point on the album.

The album closes with a couple more tracks running to 10 minutes +, and a three minute interlude between them. The two long tracks appear to be successions of shorter ideas for songs, linked by extended jams. As such, they come across as a bit disjointed at times, the simpler pop melodies being at odds with the track lengths.

With an overall running time of over 70 minutes,prog fans may expect this to be the holy grail of Phish albums. To that extent, this is a bit of a let down, being a hurriedly put together set of rehearsals and work in progress jams. On the other hand, the music is generally enjoyable and from time to time it is even impressive.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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