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Phish herald triumphant return with Joy-ful new album

Noah Shwartz

Issue date: 9/25/09 Section: Focus
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Phish, Joy 2009, JEMP Records Highlights:
Phish, Joy 2009, JEMP Records Highlights: "Backwards Down the Number Line," "Time Turns Elastic," "Kill Devil Falls"
[Click to enlarge]
When jam band legends Phish announced their indeterminate hiatus in 2004, many wondered if the band renown for their tremendous comraderie, would stay apart for long. Sure enough, fans' doubts were confirmed, and after merely five years, Phish have returned with their 12th studio album, Joy.

Made up of guitarist Trey Anastasio, pianist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon and the band's namesake, drummer Jon Fishman, they have had a troubled history. Throughout repeated break-ups, hiatuses, and reunions, Phish has still managed to produce no less than two platinum and eight gold albums.

Now they're back just as strong as ever, having just completed a reunion tour previewing all of the songs from this album, Joy and the "phab phour" are showing no signs of slowing down. The first song on the album, "Backwards Down The Number Line," has an interesting story behind it.

During Trey Anastasio's recent jail time, he and long time Phish songwriter Tom Marshall exchanged letters, and for Anastasio's birthday, Marshall sent him two songs in the mail including this birthday-themed song. Having seen this song performed for the first time at Anastasio's acoustic performance at last year's Rothbury Music Festival, the inclusion of the full band as well as beefier vocals from Anastasio really make this song worthy of its position as the album's opening track.

That is not to say that the whole band doesn't pull their weight. Gordon provides his soothing voice for "Sugar Shack," a nice song that takes full advantage of the pedal effects that Phish has gotten so adept at using during their non-stop touring as well as their knack for fitting their individual rolls in the band together to make a song that is more than a combination of their complimentary parts.

With a tagline like "Get Bassed," one shouldn't be surprised to hear the nimble yet funky groove that Gordon lays down on this song. While on hiatus, Anastasio wasn't the only one writing songs as McConnell made his first solo album, comprised of nine very pop-oriented songs, that serves as an exciting change from his normal jam-based fare. As a result McConnell contributes "I Been Around," a short two-minute ditty which answers the question, "Hey Page, where you been?"
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In This Issue


  • Case EMS 'saves the day' at mass casualty drill
  • Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum to auction $1 million in cars
  • CWRU celebrates Constitution Day
  • Have you heard about women in liberal arts?
  • Reality star's "One-for-One" business model inspires mtvU to seek out "Movers & Shakers"
  • Sigma Nu fire ruled unintentional, sparks housing inspections
  • Speaker continues debate about legal drinking age
  • The new Kindle on campus: CWRU and Amazon partner to test the Kindle DX
  • Can you name this place?


  • Close wins on crooked river
  • Hard work paying off as conference play nears
  • Spartan Spotlight: Mike Vaughn
  • What if Browns were subject to a blackout?

Fun Page

  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solution


  • Editorial: Doc Oc memorial needs identification, context
  • Genocide rape should be treated as weapon of mass destruction
  • Large debates over drinking age missing the point
  • Legalizing drugs: a practical solution
  • Lifestyle changes for a green campus
  • Observer fails to acknowledge event programmers
  • State your case: What do you do with your favorite textbook?


  • Case Swing Club dances the night away with jazz quartet
  • Finding ways around being broke
  • Hitting the Spot: The Jackie Warren Trio
  • Jolly Scholar hosts weekly live music for CWRU musicians
  • Overheard at Case
  • Phish herald triumphant return with Joy-ful new album
  • Rising alternative hip-hop artist Kid Cudi to headline UPB Fall Concert
  • Shoes: strut your way to comfortable, fashion-forward style
  • The Buzz
  • The latest independent release roundup
  • Zombies take over Lakewood for bi-annual Cleveland Charity Zombie Walk

Cross Country

  • Simpson gets win at Calvin


  • Spartans jump out to 41-0 lead against Yeomen, improve to 3-0

Sex and Dating

  • Handling the aftermath


  • Spartans come out fast, but Lions escape with win
  • Team jelling after slow start

Worst Case Scenario

  • The Worst Case Scenario
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