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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Anthony Phillips

Sides: Deluxe Boxset Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This a companion to the other Anthony Phillips box set I reviewed in this issue. Just like that one, it’s a four disc set. The first disc is a new mix of the album. The second disc features alternate tracks, demos and such. Disc three is a new remaster of the original mix. The final disc is a DVD with a surround sound mix of the album. All in all, this is a classy set. I’d say that this album is less proggy than the other one. It’s also much less like Genesis. While in some ways I prefer that one, this might be more fun. It’s worth having, either way. That’s particularly true of this classy edition. I haven’t done track by track reviews of the final two discs because they are exactly the same (in terms of the music on them) 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

     
Um & Aargh

Powering in, this feels quite a bit like later era Klaatu to me. I love the vocal arrangement. The whole piece is just a classy one. It has proggy moments, but is really more of a bouncy AOR rocker. The gutar solo section, though, brings it into some serious progressive rock territory. I love the emotion and melody conveyed by that guitar solo.

I Want Your Love
Imagine blending Genesis with Bread. You are probably in the vicinity of this pretty and mellow number.
Lucy Will
There is definitely a folk rock element to this mellower number. There is a bit of a proggy edge and some real pop music in the mix, too.
Side Door
I can definitely make out more of that Klaatu element here. This has some funk in the mix along with some jazz and more. It’s a fun little rocker with a lot of energy. The chorus brings some prog into it.
Holy Deadlock
This is more of a bouncy little number. It’s pop music for sure, with some bits of reggae along with Beatles-like things.
Souvenir
While this is very much a folk rock tune, there are definitely elements that call to mind Phillips work in Genesis. This is ballad. It’s quite mellow and very pretty. It’s one of the highlights of the set. It gets into some dreamy, more lush arranged stuff later, too.
Sisters of Remindum
Now, this definitely brings it into the progressive rock realm. This killer jam is very much a fusion styled piece. It has some great shifts and changes. There are moments that call to mind Genesis a bit, but it’s very much its own entity. This instrumental is classy. Some parts are symphonic. Some are energized. Yet, others are mellower.
Bleak House
Another that’s decidedly prog, this starts with piano. As the song grows that element remains the prominent instrument. The vocals soar pretty well. This is another that has a definite Genesis element in the song construction. It is a song that builds as it works forward for certain.
Magdalen
Think of what you might get if you mixed Genesis with the band America. You are probably thinking of something similar to this piece. It has a nice contrast between more energized and mellower sounds. The jam later in the piece really brings it into a fast paced, but still folk based, prog rock territory. Further along the musical road it moves more into Genesis like territory for a while.
Nightmare
This doesn’t feel like a nightmare at all. It’s the most decisively prog thing here. It’s a complex and captivating ride start to finish. This instrumental is one of the best pieces of the whole set, and a great way to end it in style.
Disc Two
                       
Um & Aargh (Instrumental Mix)

This is just what it says, an instrumental mix of the opening cut. It’s good, but not anything too special. Some of the melodies do get to shine a bit more without the vocals, though. It tends to go on a bit long in this format.

I Want Your Love (Instrumental Mix)
For some reason, this seems to be more effective in instrumental format than the last one was.
Sisters of Remindum (Alternative Mix)
This mix is much more electronic and quite beautiful. It’s very proggy for certain.
Lucy Will (Original Mix)
I really like this mix a lot. There is a dreamy kind of vibe to it that works quite well.
Magdalen (Instrumental Mix)
I like this instrumental rendition quite a lot. It’s classy stuff for sure. In some ways I think I like it better than the final version with vocals. It just seems that the music manages to shine more here.
Side Door (Original Mix)
Somehow I think I like this mix better than the one that finally made it on the album. It’s a lot of fun. The funk really shines here.
Um & Aargh (7" Single Version)
As advertised, this is the single release of the opening track. It’s not a big change.
Souvenir (Instrumental Mix)
Another instrumental mix, this one is quite effective in this format, really.
Bleak House (Alternative Mix)
This arrangement is all about piano and voice. I think it really works quite well like this. Perhaps it’s even more powerful this way.
Nightmare (Alternative Mix)
This mix seems to feel even more like Genesis than the album one did. I think I like this one better, too.
Catch You When You Fall (Instrumental Mix)
This is a fun little jam with country music, jazz and more in the mix.
Before the Night (Demo)
This is a powerful piano solo. It’s mostly classical and has a nice balance between softer and louder music.

 

 
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