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Anthony Phillips

Symphonic Prog

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Anthony Phillips Sides album cover
3.06 | 125 ratings | 19 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Um & Aargh (4:51)
2. I Want Your Love (3:55)
3. Lucy Will (4:05)
4. Side Door (3:24)
5. Holy Deadlock (3:48)
6. Sisters Of Remindum (4:29)
7. Bleak House (6:14)
8. Magdalen (7:39)
9. Nightmare (7:24)

Total time 45:49

Bonus track on 1990 & 2010 reissues:
6. Souvenir (B-Side) (3:45)

Bonus track on 1990 reissue:
11. Magdalen (Instrumental, prev. unreleased) (6:51)

Bonus CD from 2010 expanded remaster:
1. Um And Aargh (instrumental Mix) (6:55)
2. I Want Your Love (instrumental Mix) (3:56)
3. Sisters Of Remindum (alternative Mix) (4:28)
4. Lucy Will (original Mix) (4:10)
5. Magdalen (instrumental Mix) (7:03)
6. Side Door (original Mix) (3:19)
7. Um And Aargh (7 Inch Single Mix) (3:54)
8. Souvenir (instrumental Mix) (3:49)
9. Bleak House (alternative Mix) (6:21)
10. Nightmare (alternative Mix) (7:35)
11. Catch You When You Fall (instrumental Mix) (3:22)
12. Before The Night (demo) (5:05)

Total time 59:57

Line-up / Musicians

- Anthony Phillips ("Vic Stench") / vocals (1,3,4), guitars, keyboards, cello (4), bass (7)

- Dale Newman / lead vocals (7)
- Dan Owen / lead vocals (2,5,bonus 6)
- Mel Collins / tenor sax (5)
- John Hackett / flute (bonus 6)
- John G.Perry / bass
- Michael Giles / drums
- Rupert Hine (as "Humbert Ruse") / percussion (4), cor Anglais (6), producer
- Frank Ricotti / timpani
- Ray Cooper / percussion
- Morris Pert / congas (4)
- Ralph Bernascone / joking fake credit
- Hubert Rinse (alias for Rupert Hine) / joking fake credit
- Slim Long / joking fake credit

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Cross

LP Arista ‎- SPART 1085 (1979, UK)

CD Virgin ‎- CDOVD 316 (1990, Europe) With 2 bonus tracks (as tracks #6 & 11)
2xCD Voiceprint ‎- VP534CD (2010, UK) Remastered by Simon Heyworth, with a bonus track (as track #6) plus an extra CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ANTHONY PHILLIPS Sides ratings distribution

(125 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Fishy
4 stars A progressive rock album from 1979 ? No way, this can't be ! In 1979 progressive rock was a symbol for boring old bastards. Image was getting more important than music then and albums had to include singles, long tracks weren't aloud in the music business. This issue is the subject of the lyric of the opening track of Sides : "Um & Aargh". Though the organ monkey screams still he goes through the dance routines. The album is called sides because there's one side full of pop tracks and the next side is progressive stuff. There are not many moments I like to listen to the pop side. "Lucy will" is a nice ballad that could have been included on Ant's previous album. Like I said, Um & Aargh is another lovely track due to the funny lyrics. Other songs on this side are a waste of time unless you like to listen to eighties pop tracks by Genesis. Musical greatness starts on track no 7. "Sisters of Remindum" is a grand symphonic opening which has big keys and nice piano on it. Bleak house is a Genesis ballad with a sense of melancholy. Splendid ! When you hear this you wished Ant had never left Genesis like he did in 1971 due to the cause of being frightened on a stage. "Magdalen" is another (acoustic) guitar driven ballad, sang by Ant himself. You hear 4 different voices on this album which is a good thing, Ant may be a talented guitar and keyboard player, he's not the best singer you can imagine. Other well known musicians included on this album are the likes of Mel Collins, Morris Pert and Mike Giles from King Crimson. "Nightmare" is another instrumental epic which is timeless. After hearing this stunning track, your keep hearing its melody in your head. "Souvenir" and an instrumental version of "Magdalen" are the bonus tracks for the cd version. I do prefer this release to "Wise after the event".

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album comes after the wonderful "Wise After The Event". It still has its style and sound, with the very good singer The Vicar. There are also couples of good guest singers here. The first side contains short songs with lead vocals, which are not bad but are definitely less sophisticated and subtle than on the previous album. The second side is pretty more interesting: songs are longer, more progressive and more instrumental: there are very good fast drums, very good fast bass, very good electric guitars, and the keyboards are all played by Anthony PHILLIPS himself. "Souvenir of Remindum" and "Nightmare" are the best album tracks; "Bleak House" and "Magdalena" complete well this second side.
Review by daveconn
3 stars "Sides" is PHILLIPS' most commercial effort to date, though clearly his strength lies elsewhere. Sounding remarkably like a STEVE HACKETT album at times (notably Cured), the songs feature different vocalists of varying talent, including a few from PHILLIPS credited to The Vicar. The material isn't half-bad, mixing pop and progressive rock with musical references to PHILLIPS' earlier work as well as GENESIS. The opening "Um And Aargh" is a rail against the music industry that recalls similar complaints from GEORGE HARRISON; this and "Side Door" are catchy pop songs if a little clumsy. As might be expected, PHILLIPS throws in a few sentimental love songs that hark back to "The Geese & The Ghost": "Lucy Will", "Magdalen" and "I Want Your Love." A cynical love song, "Holy Deadlock", features lyrics from MARTIN HALL, and combines light reggae with a little clockwork strangeness. The album's high point occurs on two progressive instrumentals, "Sisters Of Remindum" and "Nightmare", that will instantly evoke images of Steve Hackett (in fact, Hackett responded with "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare" on Cured). Throw in the failed musical story "Bleak House" and you've got the works.

Although it's not an entirely unsuccessful foray into contemporary music, PHILLIPS didn't release another commercial album of songs for some time. Apparently once was enough for everyone involved.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A bit second division

It's interesting to speculate how successful Anthony Phillips would have been had he not been part of the early Genesis line up. On this showing, the answer is "not very". It is not a bad album, just a bit dull and unoriginal.

Phillips certainly drafted in plenty of help for "Sides", with over a dozen other musicians receiving credits. The vocalists dominate much of the album, perhaps in an effort to find the commercial success which has always eluded Phillips work.

On side one, the vocals on three of the tracks are credited to "The Vicar". I have no idea who this is, but "Lucy will" does sound very reminiscent of Clifford T Ward. Tracks such as "Side door" are just lightweight soft rock songs which go nowhere.

Side two is certainly a significant improvement as the pop themes of side one are replaced by Tony Banks like piano and generally more complex themes. "Bleak house" could have come straight from "A Curious feeling", while "Nightmare" has echoes of "A trick of the tail".

To continue the football analogy from the sleeve, very much a game of two halves. Skip side one altogether, and head straight for side two for the decent music.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Anthony Phillips' 1979 effort, 'Sides', is an attempt at creating a more commercially oriented product but the idea gets ditched after side 1, not that the tracks on side 1 are particularly bad anyway. 'Um And Aargh' is just as good an opener as any shorter song he's composed before, 'I Want Your Love' is a delicate ballad, 'Holy Deadlock' is a weak, reggae pastiche done Phillips style, 'Lucy Will' is again a pretty ballad and 'Side Door' - well, we all make mistakes.... The album's line-up features the superb rhythmic duo of Mike Giles and John G. Perry, Ant Phillips as himself and as 'The Vicar', tackling vocals, guitars and keyboards, 3 percussionists (Frank Ricotti, Morris Pert and Ray Cooper) and guest vocalists among others.

Side 2 of the album is every bit as engaging as his previous works, starting with the insanely complex 'Sisters of Remindum', an instrumental track featuring some incredible keyboard work, 'Bleak House' is very good indeed but 'Magdalen' is a superb, longer track with an intense instrumental passage, and the last track, the lengthy 'Nightmare', is a fantastic instrumental, showcasing the musician's (mainly Phillips, Perry and Giles) talents to the fullest. Superb album, and more enjoyable than a post-And Then There Were Three Genesis album. I was originally vouching for 3 stars, but when I heard this album just before, I insist that 4 stars is an honest rating.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars One of Phillips' strongest sides (unfortunately preceded by one of his weaker sides)

The idea behind this album was to make one side (of the original vinyl LP) with shorter, more "commercial" tunes and the other side with longer, more progressive numbers. Needless to add, most people on this website will naturally be more interested in the second side. I think it is fair to say that the tracks on the second half of this album show a good side of Anthony Phillips and I think that at least some of these numbers are more deserving of the "Prog" label than pretty much anything else in his entire catalogue (which is vast). The primary reason for this is that Sides takes more of a band approach which is unusual for Phillips who often preferred to do things on his own. This unusual Rock sound and feel also brings the music featured on Sides closer to his old band Genesis than almost any other solo album Ant has ever done. However, in terms of quality this is far, far behind that great band (even when compared to Genesis albums like And Then There Were Three and Duke that came out around the same time as Sides).

In style, the better tracks on this album are comparable to the 80's albums by Camel and Steve Hackett. But in terms of quality only the weakest albums by these artists are really apt for comparison with Sides. I'm thinking here of albums like Camel's The Single Factor (on which Phillips guested) and Steve Hackett's Till We Have Faces. Both of these albums have some good moments, but also leave something to be desired. Another possible reference point could be Mike Rutherford's Smallcreep's Day (on which Ant also participated).

The instrumentals Sisters Of Remindum and Nightmare are the albums best tracks. The opening track Um & Aargh is the worst of the lot and unashamedly steals melodic and lyrical lines straight from The Beatles (copying the line "always shouting something obscene" for example). And songs like I Want Your Love are syrupy and embarrassingly weak both lyrically and musically.

Recommend for fans, but despite holding a couple of his better tracks, it is not the optimal place to begin with Phillips solo career.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Some skilled prog friends gave a hand to his album from Anthony and surround him on this " solo" album. But I have to say that while you are listening to the first part of this work; it is quite a deception.

Most of the tracks are on the soft-pop-rock ballad style. Vocals are rather average, melodies quite childish ("Holy Deadlock") and little to no guitar solo are available ("Lucy Will", "Side Door"). The only song that stands out is the good and upbeat opener "I Want Your Love".

Some "Trespass" acoustic feel are available on the peaceful and more attractive "Souvenir". Fortunately, the album gets much better with "Sisters Of Remindum" which is quite a good progressive track in all the acceptance of the word. It features pastoral and wild passages, beautiful piano parts, and complex instrumentation: it is THE highlight so far.

The same mould is used for the nice and sweet "Magdalen". It could have been featured on "Trick Of The Tail" without any trouble. My favourite song is the excellent "Nightmare". It sounds as a beautiful dream: full of fantasy, great synths, superb bass play and excellent drumming. This long instrumental track holds everything we can appreciate on a Phillips record: melodic, sweet, catchy, superbly crafted and beautifully symphonic.

As you can see there is a bit of a mixed feel with this album. Very good songs sit along with some weak ones. Three stars overall.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
1 stars It's a lot of years since when I bought this vinyl. I don't remember it very well as I didn't listen to it very much. What I remember is the big disappointment. After an excellent debut like The Geese and the Ghost and its good follow-ups this album came to remind me that even the best artist can sometimes have a failure.

Starting from the cover art, that's very poor compared to the amenity of The Geese and the Ghost and to the colorful paintings of Private Parts and Pieces, this album totally failed to catch my attention. I've never been able to listen to its entirety in one shot, and even looking for something to save from it, I find that only the instrumentals are worth the time spent, but they are just listenable.

It's good that after this attempt to put himself in line with the incoming poorness of the 80s Anthony Phillips is gone one step back and has restarted making quite good music immediately after with the first follow-up to Private Parts.

What else to say here? It makes the pair with Rutherford's "Acting Very Strange". As the former colleague Anthony Phillips has tried to explore a musical landscape he doesn't belong to, and the result is quite poor. Of course there are some good moments here and there (not very much honestly) because he's a talented artist but if you are going to explore the big discography of this skilled guitarist and composer you can save some money by skipping this one.

This is in my opinion his worst effort, but he never fell so low again. It's not because it's commercial. Commercial music can be good. This is just poor.

One of my rare 1-star ratings.

Review by Warthur
1 stars It's a good thing that Private Parts and Pieces came out alongside this album, because this presents little that will be of interest to prog fans until the last few extended tracks and nothing which would appeal to listeners to the mainstream genres Anthony's record company seems to have been trying to market him to. Let's see, what do we have here? Um and Aargh, a shoddy attempt at New Wave? I Want Your Love, a soft soul number? Lucy Will, an acceptable but not brilliant ballad? Side Door, a horrible attempt at disco which neglects to consider that disco needs to be catchy? That's just the first four songs; the whole album is like this.

A horribly botched record; the few songs present which Phillips seems to actually care about are cheapened by inclusion with this lot, and aren't exactly of a standard to be worth listening to on their own either. A career nadir, and unfortunately not the first misguided attempt to pitch Phillips to a mainstream audience he just isn't suited to catering for.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars Um & Aargh indeed.

Sad to see Anthony put out two average commercially bent albums after the masterpiece that was The Geese And The Ghost. If you are exploring Phillips vast discography I certainly wouldn't put this at the top of the list. It has its good moments though. The opening title track isn't too bad. It's followed up by a couple of syrupy love songs. Side Door, pass. Holy Deadlock amusing commentary on bad marriage.

It does get better further on. The instrumentals, Souvenir of Remindum and Nightmare are the brightest spots on the album. The longer vocal tracks, Bleak House and Magdalen are also a step up.

Not as painful as a ball to the balls. And if you don't mind a little commercial in your prog it might work for you.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Shortly after ''Wise after the event'' a third album by Phillips was released, but he did not put much effort on it.And that's because ''Private parts & pieces'' contains tracks dating from 1972 and 1976, showing that Phillips was far from inactive during his dark period.The album, which mostly contains lush acoustic and piano tracks, was originally released in the USA on PVC and appeared in the UK the following years for some time as a complementary album to Phillips' next regular recording, the album ''Sides'', his last effort on Arista.This was recorded again at Essex Studios and Matrix Studios at the fall of 1978, featuring once more Rupert Hine on control of the production and quite about the same line-up with ''Wise after the event''.However he received some nice help on vocals by newcomers Dale Newman and Dan Owen.

Listening to the first half of the album you get the feeling that Anthony Phillips and GENESIS lived in a parallel world.And that's because, as time passed by, both presented a quite similar approach to music.So, Phillips' fourth release shows a tendency towards more poppy compositions, always with very sophisticated arrangements and artistic performances, but definitely relying too much on vocals and melodious textures, while the songwriting is accesible and secure.At some point there are also some STEVE HACKETT influence from the ''Please don't touch''-era, as ''Side door'' even presents some Reggae influences in the mix.All these until the middle of the album, because from now on Phillips returns to the sound of his previous releases and that is smooth Soft/Symphonic Rock with rural inspirations and excellent vocal harmonies.Tracks are longer and a couple of them end up to be absolutely dramatic and 100% progressive with intricate textures and some beautiful keyboard themes.There are even complex passages and high quality instrumental room for a combination between keyboard-led Symphonic Rock and a vocal-driven Art/Folk Rock with delicate piano and acoustic guitars.Proto Neo-Prog touches are also clear during these pieces and the second side eventually recalls the works of STEVE HACKETT and KEVIN PEEK around the period.

Uneven, still quite enjoyable material by Phillips on his fourth studio effort.The second part of the album contains majestic and well-crafted Progressive Rock, while the weaker first part is dedicated to a more accesible side of his talent.But even these pieces have lots of goodies to offer.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Another vocal oriented album, less progressive than the debut album but still has enough high-quality progressive moments. "I want your love" is a romantic pop track with vocals as the most interesting item, unfortunately. "Lucy Will" is even worse with careless vocals and lush keyboards/percus ... (read more)

Report this review (#2242782) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, August 10, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The only reason I can quantify for giving three stars is that 'Good, not essential' is not really how I feel about this album but it's the closest rating I can find. I probably could rate it around three and a half with 'Excellent, essential, but WITH FLAWS' Actually, it's semi-essential, and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1078823) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars *I'd give this album 3.5 but I can't* After further commercial indifference folowing his second album, Anthony Phillips decided to try a different approach. He decided it was time to simplify and to toughen up his approach. He ditched the intricate arrangements of Wise After the Event. He sat ... (read more)

Report this review (#243655) | Posted by SonicDeath10 | Thursday, October 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A comercial album from this artist. If the first album are great, this is a litle boring work that never end. First track is quite good but the other's are very comercial. Just the 2 last tracks show a litle of progressive work of Anthony Phillips. To me, this musician are great in Genesis albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#231518) | Posted by Joćo Paulo | Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This fine effort by Anthony Phillips finds him moving in a more pop-oriented commercial direction on a number of songs on this record. Unfortunately, that really isn't his nitch. Despite this, Lucy Will and I Want Your Love are pretty little songs. Um and Aargh is a catchy little song that st ... (read more)

Report this review (#152037) | Posted by LARKSTONGUE | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Football sides, Fussbal sides, two sides of a record, pop side, prog side, and I don't think I've exhaused the play on words that is often employed in Anthony Phillips' work. SIDES is his third solo album, and his second of three attempts, Invisible Men being the third and final one, to make A ... (read more)

Report this review (#89923) | Posted by | Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album reminds me of "And Then There Were Three". Even though SIDES came out a year later, you can detect the similarities of what was going on in Prog music in the late 70's. Genesis would continue down the path of mainstream commercial music, with increasingly disasterous results, while ... (read more)

Report this review (#72128) | Posted by | Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars SIDES, along with WISE AFTER THE EVENT were Mr. Phillips' best attempts at making "mainstream" rock or prog music. The fact that it came out the same year that we were all bopping to "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)", "Y.M.C.A.", and "Ring My Bell" ought to serve as clues as to why this work did ... (read more)

Report this review (#57309) | Posted by | Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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