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4 stars This is a great cd even though phish are losing touch of their progresive rock weirdness but still keep some of the abstract craziness from junta and lawnboy on here with songs like Stash and Tweezer witch both have awesome riffs. This is probbably my 2nd favourite phish album with Junta as #1 Lawn Boy at 3rd and Rift at 4th after Rift nothing is very good (Billy Breathes was dissapointing) and Round Room was actually half decent but i would stay away from anything after rift especially for the Prog Rockers Just get there first 4 and anything live is always good considering phish is known as a live band.I would suggest getting of your ass and into a cd store to buy a Picture Of Nectar with great mucisianship great songs good humor how could you go wrong you wont be dissapointed.
Report this review (#33635)
Posted Thursday, January 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely fantastic, one of my favorite albums of all times! YOU MUST LISTEN TO!!! Genius at his best, nothing similar since Frank Zappa's masterpieces! So, now get your ass into a cd store to buy a Picture Of Nectar: you wont be dissapointed!
Report this review (#33637)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Phish's third album (I gather) is a complicated affair for someone unfamiliar to the band - and this is my case. Certainly it sounds like another Phish record but on this one not only are the Grateful Dead references still evident but it clearly appears those guys heard also the excellent A Pocket Full Of Kryptonite debut album from Spin Doctors.

Most of the songs on this album are very typical of Phish swaying from Country-rock to bluesish-rock to mainstream rock with good musicianship. The tracks are shorter than usual and only a few of them allow for much instrumental interplay that we are used as soon as you see them in concert. The three longer tracks (Stash, Tweezer & Mango Song) will appeal to progheads for obvious reasons, but progressive nirvana is not to be reached with such an album. Too many references to country music are made but in general musical directions are too wide and unfocused for this group to be relished by progheads.

As a confirmed proghead but knowing only five albums from them, I can assure potential listener that although good musicians, I have yet to really enjoy a studio album but I rate highly the live album. It seems to me that Phish's main appeal is as a live band.

Report this review (#33638)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars While most fans of Phish on this site, I have noticed, reguard their debut album Junta as Phish's best effort. I disagree. Not to say Junta is bad, it's just that A Picture of Nectar is so magnificant that it just surpasses Junta in every way. If you are in any way familiar with Phish's live shows, you'll realize that many of Phish's most noted live song/jams appear on this album:

"Llama" starts off the album with a bang, a frenzy of drums, skillful guitar strumming, and atmospheric organ.

"Stash" is eerily complex, employing complicated scales and skittering jazz rhythms to create a sense of unease. The musical interlude/break is evocative and catchy, not a bad thing at all as some prog fans seem to believe. Besides perhaps "You Enjoy Myself," this is Phish's best song.

"Tweezer" and "Tweezer Reprise" are excellent jam songs with satisfying riffage and underlying piano flourishes. The Reprise is brief, but has some excellent piano and guitar interplay.

"Chalk Dust Torture" can be described just like "Tweezer." It's the weakest song on the album in my opinion, but isn't all that bad.

"The Landlady" is basically a 3 minue guitar solo, but since Trey Anastasio is playing it, it is so catchy, not to mention incredibly good, that you will love it anyway. It's a bit like Zappa's "Sheik Yerbouti Tengo," only better.

Except for the mock-country "Poor Old Heart," the rest of the album is a mix of pleasant interludes ("Eliza" "Manteca" "Faht" "Catapult") and lazy (in a good way) jams ("Cavern" "Guelah Papyrus" "Glide" "Magilla" "The Mango Song.") Back to "Poor Heart," I hate country music, but this parody is so chiche-filled that i can actually enjoy most of it.

The only reason why I didn't give this album 5 stars is because it doesn't have many prog elements to it. And most of those that it has are in "Stash."

If you're a fan of Phish, get it. If you kind of like Phish, download or burn it." If you don't like Phish, why are you reading this? ;)

Report this review (#40262)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another excellent Phish album. Tis was their fifth album, and third officially released. By this point Phish was starting to become popular among college circles. Their songs were shorter now, and a little more accessable here, but still undeniably Phishy and quite progressive. Probably the most popular song on the album, the bluesy Chalk Dust Torture, really is not representative of the sound on this album. Phish were all over the place. Experimenting with Latin, Classical prog and as always, Jazz. Some of my favorites include Llama, Glide, Landlady, Stash, Tweezer, and The Mango Song.

Overall, this album is less proggy than their previous three, but still a great album and the next logical step once you have Junta and Lawn Boy.

Report this review (#72485)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink

First of all, I'd like to say that I do consider Phish as a prog band.

Being the third deliver from these American Band, I expected so much more.In fact this album contents awesome songs with the unique Phish style, but in my opinion there are too many fill songs that does nothing for me. The album is easy listening and in some way is a pleasant experience, with some great jams and extended guitar solos.

First of all, I'd like to say that before I listened the while album, the only track I've heard befor was "Stash"; which I consider one of the most amazing and complete songs ever written. The way they mix every influence is excellent, but well, let's start the review.

The beginning of the album creates a huge expectation of how the rest of it it's gonna be. Unfortunately, the solid tracks can't stand the whole album to lift it up and turn it into a great one.

As I said before, "Stash", "Eliza", "Guela Papyrus", "Tweezer" and "The Mango Song" have excellent instrumental pieces that make them stand out from the rest.

"Poor Heart" was a great idea that tried to mix country with some jazzy stuff, but the result was terrible. The song gets monotonous and annoying, it was very difficult for me not to press the stop button at the end of that torture. And this song is also the example and formula of some other included in this album as "Manteca" and "Glide" just to name a few.

I was thinking to give it only 2 stars, but it has some real lovable song that support the weak ones, so at the end of the day, I'll give it 3 stars.

Report this review (#110372)
Posted Friday, February 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#117396)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Phish's studio output was always spotty to say the least. A stunning track on one of their albums is typically followed by an unimpressive one. That is the case with "A Picture of Nectar". Some great stuff on this album, of particular note are "Llama", "Cavern", "Guelah Papyrus", and "Chalkdust Torture". Sadly the album is dotted with an equal number of irrelevant tracks. Although not a great release, this is where Phish started to establish their own identity which would mature over the next 3 or 4 studio albums.
Report this review (#118279)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Team
4 stars When it comes to bands that are into eternal jam sessions, Phish is the absolute best. It is amazing how they seem to be on the same "wavelength" when they are playing together in a live show and how well they know each other enough to carry each other through such diverse and long jamming sessions. The question always seems to arise, however, as to whether they are really a progressive band or not. Let me put it this way...sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. But that's okay. These guys are great at both, so they can get away with it. I can't say that they have ever done anything innovative in progressive rock, but they know the tricks of the trade and they do it well. Jamming is definately legal in progressive rock and is also welcome. Even though I do love my share of jam bands, I've always been more attracted to the complex structure of I guess I'm more into tight structure than loose jamming. For this reason, I have no problems with Phish's studio albums up through "The Story of the Ghost", so I am not the typical "Phish-head" because most die-hard Phish phans love them for their free form but I love them for the structure of their music. That being said, I absolutely love this's probably my favorite by them immediately followed by "Rift" and "The Story of the Ghost".

This album has everything and I love the variety here. Here is what you get with this album. "Llama" is just a fast, wacked-out song that demonstrates Phish's quirkiness. "Poor Heart" is a hilarious send up of country music. "Stash" is the prog-lovers dream. "Magilla" and "Land Lady" are both great jazz-rock instrumentals and I love the way they are "stuck" together on the album. "Tweezer" is a great sampler of what these guys can do with improvisation when they have a great riff to play off of. "The Mango Song" is at silly as it sounds but very enjoyable. "Chalk Dust Torture" is a little heavier and probably one of my all time favorite Phish songs. This is one that always sounds good live whatever they do with it. The album closes off with three short songs...the instrumentat and very funny "Faht" with all kinds of nature and acoustic sounds which if you listening too closely might end up making you jump out of your seat, the strange and short "Catapult" and then the reprise of "Tweezer" which I think is the perfect closer because of how it brings back the spirit of the album after the two "mostly" quiet previous tracks.

Overall, a great album that does better listened to as a whole and not in parts. This is another reason why I like this one more than their previous album "Junta" (which most Phish-heads would consider their favorite) because the tracks all sound better when they are listened to together. I really think this is what Phish was trying to accomplish when making an album, a way to tie all the songs together to make a "full-album" type listening experience, where in a live show, they try to give each song it's own individuality. They accomplish this very well on this album and also on "Story of a Ghost".

Report this review (#286215)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars It's probably no coincidence that with their debut on a major label, Phish elimated most of the prog elements from their music. I can imagine some suits in the recording studio listening to them and telling them what not to play. But still, there is much to like about this album.

LLama is about as energetic as a Phish song can get, and is a great rock tune. And while the live versions of these are much better, Stash and Tweezer on this album have some fine jamming. Other fine songs on this album are Guelah Papyrus, The Mango Song and Chalk Dust Torture.

So while this isn't one of my favorite Phish albums, there is still plenty of music worth listening to on it.

Report this review (#300342)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Phull of phun

Phish have been around since about 1983, this 1992 release being their fifth studio album. In some ways though, this is considered to be their first album proper the previous four being a trio of self releases and one further album on a minor record label.

Consisting of some 16 tracks ranging from under half a minute to nearly nine minutes, diversity appears to be the order of the day here, both in terms of styles and quality. While the entire band contribute to the songwriting, it is Trey Anastasio who is by far the major writer.

In terms of the music, the songs tend to be built upon the lush organ playing of Page McConnell. Song structures are generally pretty straightforward with strong pop leanings, the aforementioned overall diversity being the main source of any prog sensibilities. Some here will inevitably baulk at tracks such as the country/bluegrass "Poor heart" written by Mike Gordon, and it does indeed seem rather out of place on an otherwise rock album.

The 7 minute "Stash" on the other hand is something of a cornucopia, ranging from a smooth Latin style, to clever Dickie 10cc patter. The track contains some nice Santana like lead guitar work too. An undoubted highlight of the album for me is the lead guitar instrumental "The landlady", where the comparison with Carlos Santana is even more appropriate. The only complaint about the track is its brevity.

The other track which purports to have prog credentials is "Tweezer", which runs to almost 9 minutes, and also enjoys a further 2 minutes of reprise to close the album. Unfortunately, the lyrics on the track are the most trite on the album, rhyming tweezer (is there such a word in the singular anyway?) with freezer and Uncle Ebeneezer. Admittedly, this is clearly intentional and meant to be humorous, but before long it simply becomes irritating. On the plus side, the track does feature some fine, rock orientated guitar.

"The mango song" offers further hints of 10cc, the mild calypso basis of the song supporting a pleasantly inoffensive long pop song.

Overall, an interesting album which contains something for everyone. That though is also its weakness, as the overall result is rather unfocused. On the plus side, this is a well performed and recorded album, which demonstrates that there is considerable talent within.

Report this review (#453002)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Phish's third effort was not far off the line of it's two predecessors, especially in the line of 'progressiveness'. Sure, Junta was a great debut album that was full of prog rock, but Lawn Boy and A Picture of Nectar didn't fall short from the line at all. I've actually had more of a history with this album than any other album by the band, even though that might not be saying much because I only have two of their releases (this and Farmhouse, a pretty mediocre album). That aside, let me tell you my experience with this album:

I was still new to my renewed prog rock discovery stage (I had already listened and known much before but had recently rediscovered it's perfect sound) at least three years ago, but even before that, I had Phish. Of course they weren't technically 'prog' because of their heavy mix of jazz fusion and dare I say it, alternative rock. There's almost a coffeehouse blend of Phish's music, with a very jam-oriented style of music, meaning that integrity is important and used, however it is justly used in small amounts. This leads to more creative paths that usually create unique toe-tapping art-worthy tracks, very much shown on this release. Anyway, Phish was very important to my re-introduction to prog rock and it was an incredible experience. It's one of those few albums that when I have it and listen to it in large amounts, I don't need any other releases from the artist. When a band does that, they've earned an A in my book.

The first large highlight is the odd, jazzy 'Cavern', with one of my favorite percussion-led openings of all time. The song always retains a certain quality and beat, and is able to maintain structural integrity even without large changes. The vocals are good, but what is really odd are the lyrics, which are the usual cute, lighthearted, and inane composition that Phish uses so much in their music. Definitely an enjoyable track. The most 'progressive' songs on the album are undoubtedly 'Stash' and 'Tweezer', both are epics who's times are used wisely for excellent bass and guitar lines, and the latter even got a reprise for a finisher at the end of the album which was equally as good. 'Glide' is a weird song, with keyboard slides and heavy amounts of cowbell. I've always found myself liking it, even though it's strange lyrics that center around the play on words of 'we're glide that you're alive' are highly eccentric. 'The Mango Song' is the most lighthearted of the songs, and what would you expect? It's about Mangoes for god's sake! It features some cool a Capella as well as more finger-snapping jazz. My final real highlight is 'Chalkdust Torture', a quick, blues-y number that is undoubtedly the heaviest on the album. It was my favorite for a long time, and for a good reason.

So in total, and excellent release from the 90's. Completely essential. Go get it now.

Report this review (#1345904)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2015 | Review Permalink

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