Phish: Rift

Album review
Phish: Rift



Label: JEMP
Media: LP
Genre: Rock/pop

Toward the end of last year Phish released limited and numbered LPs of some of their early records, including 1993’s Rift, a concept album tracking a man’s dreams about the rift in his relationship—not quite a course of normal love/worry/ break-up songs. Phish, one of the few bands that indulges in goofiness, lets that quality soak into both their lyrics and their jams. The words to “Lengthwise” are simply, “When you’re there, I sleep lengthwise/And when you’re gone/I sleep diagonal in my bed.” Elsewhere, the dreamer wants to smoosh all his lover’s friends into a small swimming pool so he can weigh them. The pacing and solos in several songs are manic, and country music is constantly hinted at—in rhythms, harmonies, melodies, or guitarist Trey Anastasio’s banjo imitation in “Sparkle”—but there is never any actual twang, even in the divine steel guitar part in “Fast Enough For You.” That ballad, both analytical and surreal, has always been the highlight of the album for me. The pressing quality of the reissued vinyl is remarkable; the playing surface is very quiet, and the CD’s slight hard edge is gone. Most striking is the background clarity: the drumming especially is a lot clearer.  

More Info

  • primary artist, Phish
  • LP

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