Phideaux - Number Seven review
|Release date:||May 2009|
One: Dormouse Ensnared
01. Dormouse - A Theme
02. Waiting For The Axe To Fall
03. Hive Mind
04. The Claws Of A Crayfish
05. My Sleeping Slave
Two: Dormouse Escapes
06. Darkness At Noon
08. Gift Of The Flame
09. Interview With A Dormouse
10. Thermonuclear Cheese
11. The Search For Terrestrial Life
12. A Fistful Of Fortitude
Three: Dormouse Enlightened
13. Love Theme From "Number Seven"
14. Storia Senti
15. Infinite Supply
16. Dormouse - An End
The reasons why I like Phideaux's music are numerous and, to be honest, not yet fully explored in their depths. The fact is, however, that through the years I've grown so accustomed to the music and writing style that whenever anything new emerges by Phideaux I take almost instant liking to it. Mind that it doesn't happen without criticism and critical comparison to the previous releases. There always spring up thoughts along the lines of I-liked-that-one-better but overall the feeling about the music is that I like it. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
This time I'm inclining toward less. Although, I'm not even sure about that. Here's why. Number Seven is, as the title suggests, already the seventh album of the band and a break from the trilogy that started with The Great Leap and Doomsday Afternoon. However, while it's a break from the trilogy conceptually, it is a natural continuation of the sound presented on the Doomsday Afternoon. And this, in it's own way, is why I like it less. This album feels less different from previous efforts.
The music of this progressive rock band has become so uniform and so well sewn together that while liking the music throughout the album, you cannot pinpoint any particular cool spot later after listening. While listening to Number Seven for the first time I was pretty overwhelmed, and became somewhat disappointed afterwards when I couldn't remember the tunes I had liked so much while the music played. It's a moment like that that you feel genuinely cheated. Often it's the awesome changes and progression that make you so love prog rock. This album, while constantly changing and shifting, left me empty-handed. Or did it?
I've been thinking long how to describe Phideaux's music on recent albums. Something along the lines of melancholic (post)-apocalyptic fairytale springs to mind. It's a continuous story told through music, and continuous piece of music without evident breaks is the tool to telling the story. And here's where uniformity comes into play. Individual spots are not meant to stand out as sharp peaks, individual songs are not meant to stand out but serve greater purpose. It's all meant to fit together like a jig-saw puzzle to tell a story that demands constant attention. When you listen to Number Seven with half a mind on the music you'll miss out on it. To discover it, you need more to unravel what's inside.
When you have reached the understanding that it all fits together but isn't showing too much on the surface, this is when you start paying attention to all the details. Number Seven is layered like an onion. And it's musical details that are layered, if you catch my meaning. You'll find something on each listen that you didn't hear before. Some ambient keyboard sound, some note played, cool saxophone sound, violins and cellos you didn't notice before, a couple of beats on percussion, and especially vocals sounding particularly awesome during some lines. These are the details that you can't really pick out when music has ended, or when you listen without paying much attention. However, these are the details that you'll keep noticing each time you listen to this album.
It's the sense of constant rediscovery that I like about this album. However, there's still quite a bit I miss in it. Not exactly sure what but the middle part of "Storia Senti" is probably the one tune that stuck with me after listening being a bit like a note from the past. I think that what I miss is this "Storia Senti" kind of individuality to each song, like on Ghost Story and less on The Great Leap albums. On the whole, those who know Phideaux will like this album. Those who don't know Phideaux will probably find this album somewhat unappealing, hard to digest, and probably won't appreciate it in all its details. As a starting point to Phideaux, other albums are better. Alhtough, it depends on what kind of listener you are.
Written on 24.08.2009 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
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