Monday, September 7, 2009

Album Review: Phish - Joy



The road to recovery has brought us Joy, Phish's first studio effort in five years. Joy is equal parts therapy and provocation. The lyrical themes are heavy and filled with honesty while poppy, often psychedelic music provides the contrast that we have come to expect from Phish. The band isn't afraid to address its shady, public history as lead guitarist Trey Anastasio sings "Got a blank space where my mind should be, got a Clif Bar and some cold green tea " on the standout rocker "Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan". What good, partying Phish fan hasn't lived off a similar diet either on tour or at college? Things get a little more serious on the title track "Joy", a dedication to Anastasio's now departed sister who passed away last year from cancer. In true Phish fashion, the album also has a few odd-ball moments, most notably on the Mike Gordon penned and sung "Sugar Shack" which is both funky and strange in true Gordo fashion. Joy also contains some soon to be Phish classics such as "Ocelet" which is filled with child like imagery and is a welcomed return to Anastasio's playful, narrative style approach to songwriting. Pianist Page McConnell steps into the spotlight on "I Been Around", the albums modern day response to the Phish classic "Lawn Boy". The only downfall of the album is the 13 minute prog-rock number "Time Turns Elastic". With meaningless lyrics such as "But, I'm a submarine, submarine sinks below the ground. A submarine, I'm a submarine, submarine sinks below the ground" its quite difficult to understand what Anastasio was trying to accomplish with this tune. It's safe to say that Joy is a return to Phish being a rock and roll band with pop sensibilities and this is easily their most accessible album to date. While old-school Phish fans may view this this as a downfall, new listeners are sure to have the catchy choruses of "Backwards Down The Number Line" and "Kill Devil Falls" stuck in their heads for days. Ultimately, Joy is a recharged and reinvigorated Phish proving to the world that their reformation is not simply an attempt at testing the waters, but rather a statement that the boys are back for good.

1 comment:

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