Joy Review

artist: Phish date: 12/24/2009 category: compact discs

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Phish: Joy
Released: Sep 8, 2009
Genre: Alternative Rock / Neo-Psychedelia
Label: JEMP Records
Number Of Tracks: 10
Phish return with their first studio album in five years, opting for a more progressive and pop influenced sound than the normal Grateful Dead influenced jamming.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 7
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review (1) 7 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.3
Joy Reviewed by: TheDissident, on december 24, 2009
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Sound: Phish return with their first studio album in five years, opting for a more progressive and pop influenced sound than the normal Grateful Dead influenced jamming. From the opening track, one can hear the obvious change in the band's sound. While Phish still brings many different genres together (hear the pop style Backwards Down the Number Line after listening to the jazzy-reggae of Sugar Shack), they seem to have lost a little bit of that "jam" band quality that Phish fans have come to enjoy so much over the course of the band's history. Granted, Phish has always been a band best enjoyed live, but Joy is an album that is very clean and makes use of studio technology to the point that much of Phish's jam magic is lost in translation. That's not to say the songs aren't enjoyable, on the contrary; the more pop influenced songs certainly make Phish more accessible to a wider audience. Serious Phreaks, however, may be disappointed in the lack of extended jamming, aside from the thirteen minute "Tim Turns Elastic". Anastasio's soloing is solid throughout, and adds the little jam appeal that remains. // 7

Lyrics: Joy is as paradoxical in it's title as it's songs lyrics are. While the majority of the albums songs are upbeat and "happy" sounding, the lyrical content reflects a darker side of Anastasio. In "Kill Devil Falls" (an uptempo funky jam driven by one of the best guitar riffs on the album), Trey sings, "I learned my lesson, and I can still remember the last one/this time will be different, until I do it again." Here, Trey reflects on his long history battling alcohol and other drug uses, though this dark lyrical content is surprising given the music put with it. The title track, "Joy", is certainly the album's high point. A beautiful, slow tempo piano song, "Joy" sounds like Trey's reflection upon his own life and musical career. // 8

Overall Impression: Even with producer Lillywhite's idea of forgoing overdubs and simply allowing all the instruments to combine in true concert style, Joy doesn't contain the "hippy-jam" vibe that Phish is capable of. The serious Phish fan will want to add this album to his collection for a few of it's more memorable tracks, though how many re-listens it warrants will vary by listener. For anyone looking to get into the band, Joy might just be the perfect place to start. Anastasio's skillful playing and the album's overall uptempo vibe will certainly be accessible to anyone new to the band. I recommend the album to all, as it is one that any fan will want to pass judgment on for themselves. // 7

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