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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips

Wise After the Event: Deluxe Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This new edition of this former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips’ solo release is quite nice. For starters we get a new stereo mix of the main album. That sounds great. While you might think it would sound like Genesis, it’s actually more like The Beatles and Klaatu to my ear, with some Genesis in the mix (and one would expect). There is a second disc of demos and other obscurities. Next comes a third CD. That one has the original mix of the album remastered. Finally, there is a DVD with a surround sound mix of the album. The set also includes a nice booklet. This is highly recommended as far as I’m concerned. I haven’t done track by track reviews of the last two discs because they are (as far as songs) exactly the same as the first disc.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One

                
We're All As We Lie

The opening guitar section here is very folk music like. As the vocals join and the track continues forward, there is an early Genesis element for sure. Still, this is also psychedelic and folk based. There are definitely hints of the Beatles on this, too.

Birdsong and Reprise
This comes in extremely gentle. It is very much a cross between early Genesis and the psychedelic side of the Beatles. As it grows out later it becomes much more of a Genesis type song. The vocals are perhaps closer something like Klaatu, though. Still, the musical arrangement is instantly recognizable as something Genesis would do. The more psychedelic movement later does land closer to Klaatu, too. The late instrumental movement really does feel so much like Genesis that it’s scary. Then it drops back to the mellower sound for the return of the vocals. That portion again makes me think of Klaatu.
Moonshooter
The mellow opening movement here is trademark Genesis. This cut is a fairly sedate one that lands in the area of folk prog. There are sections that are more like Genesis. The vocals (and some of the music) brings it more along the lines of the Klaatu/Beatles territory referenced throughout. The opening bit returns as a bookend to close the piece.
Wise After the Event
The title track starts with atmospherics. It works out to more of a psychedelic rock jam. Sure, there are still Genesis links, but really it makes me think of Klaatu a lot. It’s more rocking than anything we’ve heard to this point. There are parts that are closer to Genesis than others are. The more intricate stuff really does often sound like Genesis. The extended instrumental movement that joins and really grows in particular is very much like what you’d expect from a Genesis related release. The cut seems to end near the seven minute mark, but instead a new, atmospheric yet lush section begins. That movement serves as an instrumental closing section.
Pulling Faces
Those looking for something that sounds like Genesis need look no further than the symphonic prog opening of this piece. It’s dramatic, powerful and so cool. The whole song feels a lot like Genesis, really. The vocals don’t quite fit, but there are much closer than those on much of the rest of the set. The piece works through several great shifts and changes. This is definitely one of the real highlights here.
Regrets
A mellower cut, this has a lot of piano and some symphonic strings. It still has those Genesis elements along with a healthy dosage of Klaatu. It’s a pretty and evocative ballad. The arrangement does get quite powered up later, but it still remains symphonic in texture.
Greenhouse
This mellower, melodic piece is very much in the same vein as a lot of Klaatu. It’s full of great Beatles like elements. Sure, you can still make out some Genesis, if you search for it, but it’s not really obvious.
Paperchase
Now, the opening section here is trademark Genesis. The vocals bring more of a Klaatu element, but musically this really does have a lot of that Genesis sound in the mix. The more rocking movement is more along the lines of 1970s power-pop in a lot of ways.
Now What (Are They Doing to My Little Friends)
Lyrically this feels like a commercial for the ASPCA. Musically it works between mellow guitar based segments and those dominated by piano. There are some changes beyond that, though. It’s probably more of a folk based prog number a lot of the time. There are sections, though, that move in Genesis like directions.
Squirrel
A piano and vocal based song, this is melancholy. It’s creative and artsy, too. I don’t know if closing on such a somber note was necessarily the best choice, though. It also seems a little unfinished once it’s done.
Disc Two
                    
We're All As We Lie Link

This is just an intricate and dreamy instrumental piece. It’s fairly short.

Sleeping on an Interstellar Plane (Greenhouse Demo)
I almost think I like the song better in this format. It’s very much an intricate Beatles-like number. It’s quite strong. That said, the vocals on the main song are better.
Paperchase (Instrumental Demo)
This feels even more like Genesis in this treatment. There is some great instrumental interplay. It weaves some excellent moods and melodies along the ride.
Birdsong (Instrumental Demo)
Intricate acoustic guitar is the order of business at the start. Some electric guitar joins at points.
Moonshooter (Cottage Tapes Demo)
This is a pretty stripped down instrumental demo. It’s good, but not at the same level as the final number.
We're All As We Lie (Cottage Tapes Demo)
Very much a stripped back demo, this isn’t developed to the point of being all that interesting other than from an archival point of view.
Pulling Faces (Cottage Tapes Demo)
Now, this demo is better for sure. It really does feel like Genesis, albeit a demo of Genesis.
Squirrel (Instrumental Mix)
Strictly a piano solo in this format, this is a pretty cut.
Wise After the Event (Instrumental Mix)
This demo isn’t any big surprise. It’s just an instrumental version of the actual cut that’s a bit stripped back.
Magic Garden (Solo Piano Mix)
As you might guess from that parenthetical, this is a piano solo. It’s quite pretty and very classical in a lot of ways.
We're All As We Lie (7-Inch Single Mix)
This is a fun little number in this single version.
Regrets (Piano Mix)
This piano treatment is very pretty.
Chinaman (Basic Guitar Mix)
This is just a very short guitar solo.
Now What (Are They Doing to My Little Friends) (Instrumental Mix)
This instrumental version is quite pretty and very effective.
 
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