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Farmhouse


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Audio CD, May 16, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Media Type: CD
Artist: PHISH
Title: FARMHOUSE
Street Release Date: 05/16/2000
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

Amazon.com

Filled with pretty melodies, delicate strumming, and concise, focused, melodic tunes, Phish's eighth studio record marks a bit of a departure from the norm, but not as much of a departure as many might think. For one thing, 1996's Billy Breathes moved in a similar direction--to the delight of casual fans and the dismay of many Phish fanatics. For another, even at their most frenetic and far-reaching, the band has always shown a keen pop sensibility, even if it was merely a chance to catch their breath. Make no mistake: most of the songs on Farmhouse are wonderfully, irresistibly catchy, and often quite lovely. This was clearly singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio's baby from the get-go, and he fills the album with some of his most appealing compositions. And as usual, there's a diverse range of styles, from straight pop to country soul to easy funk to gentle balladry. That said, fans used to hearing these songs live will most likely be disappointed by Farmhouse. Too often, you find yourself waiting for the explosive jam that never happens, and when it does, as on "Piper," it seems oddly out of place. Ironically, the final song, the cunning instrumental "First Tube," reminds you what you've been missing all along--bite. In the long run, this is not the album that Phish will be remembered for, playing away from what makes them unique, but as you find your toes tapping and your mouth humming along, you realize that it's certainly an enjoyable listen and satisfying in its own way. --Marc Greilsamer

1. Farmhouse
2. Twist
3. Bug
4. Back on the Train
5. Heavy Things
6. Gotta Jibboo
7. Dirt
8. Piper
9. Sleep
10. The Inlaw Josie Wales
11. Sand
12. First Tube

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B00004T0VR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,284 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Coblentz on May 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
While this album is definately "song phish" as opposed to "live phish," this may be their best "song" album to date. After playing epic (or mind numbing, depending on your perspective) 10 to 20-something minute long versions of songs like "sand," "piper," or "gotta jiboo," it is pretty amazing to me that the band managed to break them down into bite-sized gems that can accomodate the attention span of my 10-year-old, boy band loving little sister.
While most people complain that the rest of the band just stepped back and let Trey take the reins, I could care less; the songs speak for themselves. "Farmhouse" and "Bug" have a singer-songwriter quality to them that few other phish songs have achieved. "back on the train" is a look back to the summer '99 shows; "Heavy Things" is blissfully sugar sweet, yet equally satisfying. The subtle horn arrangements are perfect for a grooving "Gotta Jibboo," and the string-enhanced "Dirt" reminds us of "fast enough for you" or "if I could." The acoustic "sleep" and "josie wales" are delicate and sweet, and they manage to set off the dynamic "sand" and "first tube" from the rest of the album. "first tube" and "piper" sound so live that, as with junta or lawn boy, you may forget you're listening to a studio album.
While my favorite thing about phish will always be Trey's epic but intricate compositions like "guyute," "divided sky," "david bowie," "yem," etc, this album will be remembered in my mind as the one where phish finally managed write a cohesive album based not on extensive jams or compositions, but on songs.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "jovaldo" on May 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This disc continues in the studio tradition of "Billy Breathes" & "Story of the Ghost." The songs are short (longest one at about six minutes), there is an irresistable pop hook, and the band shows that they're more versatile than just monster grooves in concert. I think its nice to have two totally different aspects of the same band: 1] Amazing live band that does incredible improv (and thankfully releases splendid live albums) & 2] Band that is beginning to mature in the studio. I like the shorter studio stuff on recordings. Studio jams get old after a while, plus its nice to have a disc where you can finish 4 or 5 songs while driving to work!
My first reaction when I head "Farmhouse" was that I couldn't believe how pop-ish it sounded. But I think we have to realize that pop-ish for Phish is quite different than the pop market in general. And even if it does crossover, is that so bad? (This argument has been going on since "Hoist" and if you notice they're still not on the radio, MTV, etc.) If a band is great, then people are going to find out! Something as great Phish can't be a secret forever.
"Bug," "Dirt," "Heavy Things," & "Twist" are catchy, but good (the two can co-exist...even Frank Zappa had catchy songs.) "Gotta Jiboo" captures a lot of the old-school Phish silliness (always a plus)...and "Piper," "Sand," & "First Tube" just have the groove! I like the looping effects they use too, its nice to see those outside of the concert stage (I've seen Phish over 20 times since the early 90's for those of you that are wondering.)
Its not the greatest Phish album ever (which is tie amongst the following: "Rift," "Billy Breathes," & "Lawnboy"), but it does have an incredibly varied group of well crafted songs.
I commend Phish for their studio efforts!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ivy on May 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Phish is a band that evolves even as you are listening to their recordings. In recent years they have justifiably earned a reputation as a band with two identities-studio Phish and live Phish. While "Farmhouse" is not as daring as "The Story of the Ghost" in its song-writing approach and recording style, it does maintain its continuity as a rock album, a quality that, with the advent of MP3s and CDR compilations, could become a thing of the past. There is a unity to "Farmhouse" that is both invititing and inspiring. The laid back feel of the first half successfully conveys the feeling of a band hanging out and recording an album in a Vermont farmhouse, as Anastasio (in a recent interview) said he hoped it would. It is marred only by the inclusion of Piper, a song that, in my humble opinion, deserves a more creative studio approach than the band has here given it.
The album takes an interesting twist after the gorgeous Inlaw Josie Wales that could be a taste of things to come. The futuristic "cyber-funk" of Sand and First Tube are closer to some of the musical explorations of Phish's recent live performances. If you're listening in your car, imagine, as you listen to First Tube, you're an android being chased by one of the cops in Blade Runner and the picture is complete.
As the band continues to evolve, I think it is important to keep in mind that their decision to not compose fugues and songs with the orchestrated complexity of Junta is admirable. We all know that they are capable of it. What is challenging to Phish now is writing songs with a Zen like simplicty. Songs that have a subtle richness and textured beauty that offer listeners something new with every listen. Listen to the album and then go back and take it apart instrument by instrument and you will find complexity that rivals the fugues of Junta.
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