Top critical review
Too Much Jelly, Not Enough Bacon
on June 23, 2014
This CD skips rapidly from one musical genre to another, apparently seeking more to be clever than to offer anything profound. Founder Fishman, of the jam-rock group Phish, shows no ambition to use this new setting as a showcase for his instrumental prowess, instead receding into the new band. Vocal duties rotate, but they are almost uniformly weak and wisely mixed low. About the only uniting element is the irreverent attempts at humor that regularly intrude on the music (symbolized well by the pigs with jelly oozing out of them that dominate the artwork).
"Chained to a Stump" captures the sort of jam-band virtuosity that characterized early Phish, with great saxophone fills and a fun rhythm, but it requires tolerating excessive repetition of the song title. Even clumsier lyrical indulgences tarnish the James Brown funk of "Kiss My Black Ass" (whose level of subtlety is clear from the title), the sludgy blues-rock "Trousers" (the character cannot see because his trousers are on his head), and the a capella "All American" (which repeats ad nauseum, in a sort of vocal round, the call for a fat, black, single mom in the White House). "Home Is Where You Are" follows the Phish tradition of breaking the mood by cramming a goofy country-flavored song in the middle an album.
Most of the remainder is listenable, although it rarely rises above filler. "Move with You" is a nicely funky start to the CD -- got my hopes up -- and the understated "Blue Skies" temporarily arrests the steady decline that follows that initial tune. But by the end, I was definitely mumbling the blues along with Aaron for having sunk my money into this one.