Before you even pop it into your CD player, you know”Rift” is unique because of the intricate design on its cover booklet.It is one of the few exceptions to the recent trend for albums to be litteredwith thoughtless lyrics, repetitive melodies and remixes of other songs to tiethem together. “Rift,” like its album cover, is an elaborate tapestryof interwoven thoughts and music. It is a refreshing dose of originality instyle, lyrics and cohesion of thoughts.
I have listened to”Rift” straight through several times and learned that, although everysong can stand on its own, the album is infinitely more effective as a wholebecause it covers a broad range of styles. “Fast Enough For You”features a twangy guitar reminiscent of a lovelorn country song, yet strangely isnot unpleasant. On “The Horse,” a 90-second acoustic poem, lead singerTrey Anastasio approaches the sound of a Mariachi crooner, but thankfully keepshis distance. The band also utilizes many combinations of instruments, sometimesdropping them entirely and singing to a metronome, as in the creepy”Lengthwise.”
The band retains its characteristic form in themiddle of the album, with a focus on long instrumental segments and abstractlyrics. This is most clear in “Maze” and “Sparkle.” ThoughPhish’s instrumental jams may fail to hold the attention of some listeners onother albums, here the mood changes within each song to keep them interested.”My Friend, My Friend,” for example, begins as an almost bubble gummyseries of chord progressions, but evolves into a haunting, pounding melody andconcludes with an a cappella chant.
Although each song is in itself asuccess, the album is 67 minutes of pure unique sound. In an era of remixes andradio repetition, “Rift” is worth the two or three listens it takes toappreciate it.
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