Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Phish Rift


1. Rift
2. Fast Enough For You
3. Lengthwise
4. Maze
5. Sparkle
6. Horn
7. The Wedge
8. My Friend, My Friend
9. Weigh
10. All Things Reconsidered
11. Mound
12. It's Ice
13. Lengthwise
14. The Horse
15. Silent In The Morning

Easily the most mature of all Phish studio efforts. The one CD I listen to over and over. I loved Picture of Nectar, but one gets the feeling that it was a specific effort to showcase the band's versatility in terms of various styles (Funk, bluegrass, jazz, etc). Rift, however, is a masterpiece that tells a story. Trey's music and Tom's lyrics are superb. The two best songs on the CD, It's Ice and The Wedge are so well crafted, I am still amazed. I feel I'm on a journey whenever I listen to Rift. The feel and emotion are undeniable, from the haunting and beautiftul Fast Enough For You to the frantic Rift and Maze. It's also nice to here Page do more singing. Let's face it, Trey is the creative force behind the band and his singing is the cornerstone of the vocal end of the sound, but Page has a certain finesse which should be featured much more. He sings It's Ice, the wonderful Silent in the Morning, and shares the lead on Rift, alternating with Trey in the superb title track. Whenever I here live tapes containing songs from Rift, most of them seem rushed, the vocals emotionless, and the guitar licks hurried and flat. I always return to the CD to hear the well defined instrumentation, harmonies, and emotion the live shows just don't capture. Phish as a live act is second to none, and I guess you really can't compare the studio work and the live performances because they are designed to work differently. The live, jam-oriented shows, reflect a true interraction between phish and the audience. No other live band has as close a bond with its fans. In terms of studio work, however, Rift is far and away Phish's best and most complete offering. I love the way the vocals are alternated during the chorus of It's Ice and at the end of Sparkle. For me the Ironic aspect of this album stems from the hardcore Phish fans used to the live shows, the groove, and those great jams. As a musician, I look for dynamics, unique twists, and tight, well defined playing. Rift as a studio work is the perfect example of this. If your're into the creative, experimental, long and fun jams, and overall mood and feel of a true community, go to a live phish show. Everyone should go to at least one in their lifetime, because you won't get that feeling from a studio release.

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