BennyD, contributor (Host of Ben Jammin’)
Time has a funny and interesting effect on the music we listen to. Sometimes it works to a song or album’s advantage and sometimes makes it feel off or out of place. You can listen to a track or album when it’s first released and it may seem to fit perfectly in the world around it, but take that same song and play it 10 years later and you get the sense that it just doesn’t quite feel right.
If you’re like most, you just file that away in the “maybe” I’ll give it another shot in 10 years category. When it comes to Phish’s catalog of studio albums, to me, “Rift” is a timeless classic that still holds up 30 years after its initial release. It’s strange but “Rift” can place me back in 1993 while simultaneously making me feel like it works today in 2023. And unless you’re listening to Ben Jammin’, these tracks have not been getting any airtime for quite some time, but I feel that they would fit in today’s world just as they fit in 1993.
That said, this album showcases the band’s incredible musicianship and songwriting abilities, as well as their unique approach to the jam band genre. From start to finish, “Rift” is a cohesive and well-crafted album that highlights Phish’s ability to blend elements of rock, jazz, and classical music into their sound.
The opening track “Rift” sets the tone for the rest of the album with its intricate and complex instrumental work. The album also features some of Phish’s most beloved tracks, including “Maze” and “It’s Ice”, which showcase the band’s ability to create soaring and upbeat jams.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “All Things Reconsidered”, which showcases Phish’s softer and more introspective side, with its delicate and thoughtful lyrics. The album also features some of Phish’s most coveted tracks, such as “Fast Enough for You” and “The Wedge”, which showcase the band’s willingness to push themselves to create their voice based on their identifiable influences.
Overall, “Rift” is a must-listen for the most loyal Phish fans and anyone who appreciates innovative and genre-defying music. 30 years after its release, this album remains a testament to Phish’s musical prowess and their ability to create a truly unique and unforgettable musical experience. It was an early attempt for the band to dip their toes in the idea of a singular concept album and with the unique, memorable, and brilliant cover art, illustrated by David Welker, I think they succeeded on all levels.
Thumbs up 30 years later. Press Play.