Band Website: www.bloodfish.com
Label: Bloodfish Music
Release Date: 2009
Over the years I seen all sorts of subject matter used as the basis for Progressive Rock concept albums. But the new Phideaux presents a storyline I didn’t expect to see. It’s the metaphoric story of a Dormouse and a Crayfish. The story is part of an ongoing storey line dealing with the ecology. I’ll leave you to work out the details. That’s half the fun. The title of Phideaux’s new disc is Number Seven and it is in fact his seventh full CD and in that regard it continues along a familiar musical thread. Once again Phideaux Xavier (guitars, piano, vocals) has surrounded himself with a seriously talented group of vocalists and musicians to help bring his musical vision into play.
Number Seven consists of sixteen tracks divided into three movements; tracks 1-5 “Dormouse Ensnared” [20:29], 6-12 “Dormouse Escapes” [21:18] and 13-16 “Dormouse Enlightened” [21:05]. Musically each of these movements hold a plethora of proggy feels. There is a kind of acoustic, almost folky feel to the proceedings, but this mood is punctuated many times by some well placed electric guitar and loads keyboards including some very lovely analog sounds right out of the seventies. But while there are nods to the seventies this music is very much of its own time and doesn’t in anyway sound retro. Lead instrumental accents besides the ones already mentioned include an ever present violin and a bit of saxophone. Given the story telling nature of Phideaux’s work it’s not surprising he involves as many as six vocalists, male and female, providing many opportunities for some gorgeous harmony. This music is by nature very easy to listen to and yet quite complex with a wide assortment of instrumental interplay. Regardless of the length of the individual segment it seems everyone gets a chance in the spotlight. The music moves from one musical mood to another seamlessly with a variety of crescendos and climaxes punctuating the story.
After seven albums Phideaux’s musical style has matured into something very fine. There is a sprinkling of Celtic themes that remind me of some of Mike Oldfield’s more adventurous work although it must be said that Number Seven has far more proggy leanings than anything Oldfield has created recently. But if you like your music structured with a strong acoustic foundation, much like early Genesis and then embellished will all manor of electric accents, Phideaux’s Number Seven will be just the ticket for you. Fans will certainly not be disappointed. It’s destined to be one of my favorite CD’s of 2009. I highly recommend it.