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4 stars Now Phish though musically complex, I never would label a Progressive group. However, they do have Prog-rock motiffs. Namely, Reba, That song goes into one hell of a jam, I thought they were similar to YES from their first 3 albums!!! Their is a lot of Jazz influence and some classical influence, when I first heard this band, I thought Prog-rock is aliive and well in the form of PHISH. Tracks that stand out:The Squirming Coil. Reba and Run Like an Antelope!!
Report this review (#33643)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Phish's fourth album (second officially released) is just as good as their previous, albeit shorter. Every song here is excellent. The Squirming Coil is an underrated gem of progressive music, the build up and decent is quite beautiful.

Reba is probaby my favorite on the album. Like many Phish songs, it starts off sounding like a joke song with wacky, but eventually turns into a frantic instrumental with complex time and key changes. It builds in speed until it suddenly drops in tempo and slowly rebuilds into a soaring guitar solo. The song abruptly stops and drops back into the goofy chorus that you had almost forgotten about. Its amazing how they manage to change moods like that all in one song. Phish were masters of gradually making a song unrecognizeable through their extended instrumentals.

The rest of the album is also great. There are more impressive instrumentals as well as goofy fun songs throughout. Bouncing Around The Room was one of their more accessable songs, and one of the few Phish songs you'd hear on the radio from time to time. Despite its accessable nature, it's still quite progressive, containing many of the buildups and complex instrumental sections they were known for, only on a much smaller scale.

This is definitely an essential Phish album, and probably a good starting point since the double disced Junta may be too much to take on first listen.

Report this review (#72483)
Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A somewhat overlooked classic from a band that usually is overlooked by fans of progressive rock who probably think they were just some odd hippy jam band. Are they truly progressive rock ? Well they truly are very progressive and inventive. Closely related to the old Canterbury scene in sound and influenced by Zappa as well.Quirky is the word. This album has many great elements including a lot of musical chops and humor and a real soulfulness that usually wasn't seen in the 90's so-called progressive music. Includes long extended song/jams like Reba, strange funky psychedelia like Split Open & Melt,the humorous bluegrass fusion of My Sweet One and one of their greatest songs, Bouncing Around The Room which is a must hear for anyone who likes a beautiful sounding song.
Report this review (#84956)
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many prog fans might not consider this prog in the traditional sense, but than again, since when was PROGRESSIVE music not considered prog? Isn't that what prog always used to be about? With that said, you're not going to find one cohesive style throughout this album (with the exception of the funk undertone.) Every song is brilliant in its own way and I can easily say that this is a masterpiece of progressive music and Phish's best written studio album in my opinion.

Squirming Coil- This song starts off with vocal and great melody. The focus here is the incredible musicianship. The instrumental parts of the song (with take up most of it) sound very jazz/fusion. A very light airy feel is present throughout the entire track.

Reba- This might be the best on the album and possibly phish finest moment. The song starts off with a funk feel and very fast, strange lyrics being sung. The majority of the song is composed of instrumental sections that are absolutely brilliant. Perfect time changes and changes of mood from light and airy to loud and angry. This is when phish really shine and display their intelligence and ability to convey emotions through their instrumental sections.

My Sweet One- It seems as if this song comes out of nowhere but it just increases the diversity of the band. It is 100% country for a couple short minutes with a nice jazz keyboard solo.

Split Open and Melt- Very strange and avan-garde sounding song with horn arranged by Trey that add to the weirdness of this song. The song reminds me of an acid-funk style that fits perfectly on the album.

the Oh Kee Pa Ceremony- An instrumental song representing bluegrass/country for under 2 minutes. The melody is very catchy, great guitar by Trey. The laughing in the background makes you wonder if they are even serious with this song. Nonetheless, it is great.

Bathtub Gin- Mainly resembles the same style as "Split Open and Melt." Acid-funk, great melodies.

Run Like an Antelope- Basically a highlight of Trey's incredible guitar playing. Time changes all over the place, a funk-rock feel to the majority of the song. If you are interested in hearing how good Trey is at guitar, than this song is for you. It's one of my favorites and it's a live staple for the band.

Lawn Boy- A nice jazz ballad to add to this diverse album. The guitar solo is perfect.

Bouncing Around the Room- Considered one of Phish's best known songs. A simple pop-rock song that echoes and works perfectly for the end of the album.

Overall its very hard to consider this album any one style specifically. They can pull off just about anything. It mostly can be considered jazz-fusion I guess, but that wouldn't entirely describe the diversity and overall madness of the album. Listening to an album like this makes me wonder why Phish was taken out of the Art Rock genre and put into prog related. The thing that non-phish fans don't generally understand is that Phish's studio works are (unlike most jam bands), well-thought out and very intricately written. Especially their two concept albums (Rift and Story of a Ghost), but that's another story.

Report this review (#108342)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This one fits the "good, but non-essential" label to a T. It's so goofy in places that I have to remind myself that silliness is just part of the Phish experience, and it's worth tuning out if the music is good. And it has taken me a while to feel this way, but I do think most of this stuff is actually pretty good. Just don't always listen too close to your first impression.

They really pick up where they left off on their previous album. On Reba and Run Like an Antelope, we get plenty of good instrumental workouts--even with completely asinine lyrics on Reba--characterized by Phish's pseudo-jazzy, lighthearted style. Although there are many characteristics of the band I don't care for, this is one side of them that I enjoy every time. Very tight playing.

Squirming Coil is also very nice, with some impressive--at least for this band--vocal harmonies, a good instrumental break, and even some fun additions, such as the Queen-style falsetto toward the end. Even some of the throwaways, such as The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony don't feel completely like throwaways.

I'm not a Phish-head, and some people are shocked to hear that I like some of their stuff. I can't help it--give me decent prog and I'll probably enjoy it! That being said, even by this early point, some of their music is starting to sound a bit too familiar, so I'm probably going to have to limit my Phish exposure from this point forward.

Report this review (#285506)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars While this album has even more humor in it than the previous release, "Junta", there is still quite a bit of great prog rock here. The style of music is eclectic. You can hear mostly a Grateful Dead influence, but there is also a Canterbury Scene approach to the songwriting. And of course, the band will play whetever style they feel like playing, often mixing genres in the same track.

The best songs are IThe Squirming Coil, Split Open And Melt, and the Steely Dan-like Bathtub Gin. One strange side story: this album was panned from in-store air play by upper management at the store I worked in when a customer with an "alternative lifestyle" misheard the lyrics to Reba. The company manager even came by and plainly heard "Bag it, tag it", but since the customer complained, he insisted we not play the disk.

I'm not terribly fond of the bluegrass My Sweet One or the country The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony or the low key title track. But I still give this four stars.

Report this review (#300116)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Bag it, tag it, sell it to the butcher in the store..."

Not to be confused with the bath loving Scotsman of Marillion fame, this is Phish, the renowned jam band from Vermont. And they are renowned, but mainly for their menagerie of live albums. In comparison their studio efforts are often looked upon as mere blueprints for potentially glorious architecture, and this sophomore release features many concert staples.

I am by no means a Phish fan, sure I enjoy their music and own a couple of their live releases, but I don't worship them like many of their die-hard followers. And so I am somewhat surprised at how much this album has grown on me over time! It's quirky, its loveable, and the lyrics are to literature what Dagmar Krause is to vocals. Don't expect that just because this is a studio recording it loses the groove of the live setting as there are plenty of intricate moments, as well as extended improvisation on the longer tracks.

The Verdict: A excellent starting point for any Phish collection.

Report this review (#562297)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Jam Band scene occupy a sort of middle ground for me and many other Progheads. The musicians are immensely talented, the music is ambitious and the compositions are often excellent. However it is also true that most of these bands are more inspired by Country and Bluegrass by way of the Grateful Dead, than the Jazz Fusion and Prog Rock that Phish employed. I was heavily into Phish during High School and i hold this album as their best. There is an energy in this album that i found lacking on "Junta", and "Picture Of Nectar" was a rather tedious attempt by Trey Anastasio to sound like his hero, Santana. After the following album "Rift" however, i do not care one bit for Phish. It was the earthly Jazzy Prog sound, that attracted me to their music in the first place and as for their mythical live performances, it is hard to care about them when neither Phish nor the Jam Band scene which they are a part of has ever made any real attempts to market themselves or itself outside of the USA.

Speaking of Trey Anastasio, i have long heralded him as Rock 'N' Rolls most underrated Guitarist, and this album only adds to that belief. "Reba" and especially "The Oh Kee Pah Ceremony" are brilliant and sees him employ both the beautiful washes he is known for and some seriously nimble fingered Dixieland picking. The title track and "Bouncing Around The Room" are very harmonius and a testament to both Anastasios incredible feeling and the Bands compositional brilliance.

At the end of the day,any Phishhead will tell you that no studio album can do the band justice, and while that may be true i am not as dedicated as most of their fans. I simply like good music, and this is a Cozy, Jazzy, Folksy little record wich i rank as one of the best.

Report this review (#951377)
Posted Monday, April 29, 2013 | Review Permalink

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