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Most jam bands have a difficult time with their studio recordings, unable to capture the magic of a stage performance. They treat the original studio version of a song as if it were a blueprint, hoping to recreate it in a live setting. Phish has fallen into that pattern recently and they have spaced their studio efforts out to every five years. But on their new album Fuego, they have found some of that lightning in a bottle and have come out with an album of much more than just blueprints, it’s one of their best studio albums yet.

One of the biggest differences is their choice of producer.  Bob Ezrin is old school, having worked with Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Kiss and Peter Gabriel. Ezrin gives the band a fuller sound and rather than having them play live in the studio, he finds the essence of each band member and utilizes them to their full potential.

Recorded at Trey Anastasio’s barn in the Vermont woods, Fuego opens with it’s longest song, the epic nine minute long title track.

The vocals and songwriting duites have been more spread out within the band and Page McConnell proves to be a welcome change of style from Anastasio’s vocals.

The band’s fervor for college basketball is reflected in one of the songs, inspired by University of Memphis player Darius Washington who, during march madness, had a chance to win a game with no time on the clock and three free throws at the line.

Phish has been around for more than thirty years now and by paying more attention to detail on their new album, they’ve got enough new songs to last another thirty years.

 

 

 

 

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