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CD REVIEW

Phish: Fuego

by Benjy Eisen on June 20, 2014

On Fuego, Phish’s first studio release since 2009, fans should prepare to hear a slightly different band than the one they’re used to.It’s the sound of Phish filtered through the mind of producer Bob Ezrin—a guy who spent the 1970s refining Alice Cooper’s classic cuts, as both his songwriting partner and producer. Ezrin also shares production credit on records by Kiss, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd. All of those bands—and even albums -- may have taken their turn influencing Phish, but Ezrin’s commercial production style has hardly been present, at this level, on anything the Vermont foursome have previously authorized. On Fuego, such production is impossible to escape.Which is to say that it’s Ezrin’s album as much as it is Phish’s.

While the resulting sound will remain anomalous to the album, the songs themselves represent an exciting new era in Phishtory. Sure, the kings of jam-rock have gone jam-pop in places, and the band has definitely mellowed some with age... but so have the fans.

Some of these songs -- most noticeably, “Fuego” itself—will form the basis of tomorrow’s second set centerpieces.They offer themselves here, in studio form, as the kind of veiled blueprints that Phish’s albums often provide. But Fuego’s sparkliest gems—like “Winterqueen” and “555”— soar even in the studio, thanks in part to the addition of the legendary Muscle Shoals horns.

Other cuts, such as “Waiting All Night” and “The Line,” may become frequent fliers at shows this year, but it’s the album-closing “Wingsuit” that achieves actual flight. Its annexed jam approaches something Pink Floyd may have once attempted—perhaps even under Ezrin’s watch.

Look, Fuego is different than anything you’ve heard from Phish before. Then again, so is every single show. And that’s the point, with this band. Which means, they’re the same band you know and love, after all. Which means, it’s okay to go ahead and love this album. Fuego is certainly worth it.

Authors: Benjy Eisen
Artist: Phish
Album: Fuego
Label: JEMP

Comments

I love this album to me it has the feel of Picture of Nectar or Rift in places really great stuff!!!

By Ose - 06/20/14

This album is complete garbage. The band hasn’t put together anything cohesive since Story of the Ghost.

Just because you like a band live doesn’t mean you should just accept their horrid attempts at new material. The Line? Srsly? What a joke.

By I Used To Like Phish. - 06/20/14

The fact of the matter is Phish is still writing relevant music 30 years later. Yes, many bands make it 30 years, but rarely do they release new, innovative material (think Steve Winwood “Higher Love”). Like it or not, this album is something Phish should be proud of.

By I used to like Phish too - 06/20/14

Outstanding Album.  IMO best studio work since B.B…and songwriting on an equal par as ghost.  It’s also interesting that those with negative comments (you’re entitled to your opinion) actually are still obsessing over and taking time to seek out reviews and meticulously read the review, and take the time to comment.  I know that’s what i spend my time doing when i don’t care for something.

By tmwsiy71 - 06/20/14

Great albulm. The guys sounded tight and was super well produced. Maybe it’s time for some of you guys to let go. Cant expect bands not to explore new grounds after 30 years

By Still love phish83 - 06/20/14

The last thing anyone needs is another “live” recording.  We have a zillion of them and they keep coming.  FUEGO is a work of art.  The production is spectacular and listening carefully to the vinyl was a 100% joyful experience.  The packaging is beautiful as is the orange vinyl.  Pretty sure this will be in every audiophiles collection. 

By RON ADELBERG - 06/20/14

Wombat is embarrassing.

By Johnny NoPissinEars - 06/20/14

The album is amazing.

By Spirit - 06/20/14

colored vinyl is generally inferior soundwise.  cool for collectors. Included is a digital download.

By Steve-o - 06/20/14

As with most Phish this album is hit to miss for me!  You can’t deny that they are talented musicians and that some of the songwriting is excellent (from a musical perspective).  Lyrics were never a strong point with Phish (unless you appreciate the wacky humor).  There is some writing here… “Wingsuit” and “Winterqueen” are probably my favorite… but I also like “The Line”.  There are also a few clunkers, the worse of which is “Waiting All Night”... ugghhh.  That said, the only real problem I have with this album is the lack of solos.  So much of what I like about Phish is the smoking solos (Trey and Page) or the group jamming.  I’m sure when these tunes get worked out on stage there will be more solos and jams.  I think it is hard for a jam band to make great studio albums… look at the Grateful Dead… they never really captured their essence in the studio.  Anyway… if this album is your cup of tea, then by all means put your Wingsuit on… “‘Cause it feels good”!

By EightyEights - 06/20/14

wombat is fun. lighten up. oh, that’s right, you’re just miserable in general. too bad for you…

By andres - 06/20/14

This album is much better than I thought it would be. Which means its about a 3 out of 10.

By Sam - 06/20/14

Boy, I am so sick of the haters. Stop bringing everyone else down you miserable bitches.

By Eric. Schroeder - 06/20/14

Best album they’ve done in years! Note I said ALBUM. Some of the songs from Farmhouse, RR, and even Joy are way better… but those ALBUMS aren’t. This is a studio album, and it kicks major ass. I listened to it with a Phish hater, they even had to admit it was good. They melded the old and the new with this one. They actually captured jamming in the studio PROPERLY as well! They have never been able to do that until now. I thought it would suck, as most of their studio albums have (since BB at least). Surprise! It’s really really good! I can’t wait to see them in July! Fuego, The Line, and Waiting All Night are my three favorites.

By Andara - 06/20/14

Wait—did someone disparage the Grateful Dead? Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are two of the greatest albums of American music ever created.

By Grateful Bob - 06/20/14

I’m so sick of people writing long comments about how phish sucks… I mean I’ve been seeing phish since way back in 87 and lemme tell you, they started to sound like complete shit by 1991… I would say that 99% of phish 2.0 and 3.0 fans are literally mentally retarted. Get a grip on reality and listen to some current music like wheezy or Miley phish sux

By Phishing - 06/20/14

I like it. A lot actually. Others don’t. I don’t care because they are not me. Only the ones in the know get it. If they don’t, again, they’re not me so it doesn’t matter!! See ya!

By Phishmonster - 06/20/14

I think that there are some people who are listening to these songs only liking what they know and like.  Afraid to try the fanta, or pineapple Cuban soda.  Like people who only like Pepsi, I think to really understand this band will be with the understanding you have to enjoy all the types of soda.  I like all soda… Good job…

By Mike Frank & Friends - 06/20/14

If you really understand Phish, you will love this album. If you don’t, them you do not get it and never will.

By Diggity Dan - 06/20/14

I’m beyond happy to see the evolution. The entire scene tends to get stale after the 563rd YEM. (yup, I said it)

By JAD - 06/21/14

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