Brad H. from CASTLE ROCK, CO Reviewed on 6/6/2012...
This is one of my top three studio albums of ALL time and I have been ollecting music for over 40 years. Need I say more?
My favorite Phish studio recording
Harry Drinkwater | 11/20/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Easily the most mature of all Phish studio efforts. The one CD I listen to over and over. I loved Picture of Nectar, but one gets the feeling that it was a specific effort to showcase the band's versatility in terms of various styles (Funk, bluegrass, jazz, etc). Rift, however, is a masterpiece that tells a story. Trey's music and Tom's lyrics are superb. The two best songs on the CD, It's Ice and The Wedge are so well crafted, I am still amazed. I feel I'm on a journey whenever I listen to Rift. The feel and emotion are undeniable, from the haunting and beautiftul Fast Enough For You to the frantic Rift and Maze. It's also nice to here Page do more singing. Let's face it, Trey is the creative force behind the band and his singing is the cornerstone of the vocal end of the sound, but Page has a certain finesse which should be featured much more. He sings It's Ice, the wonderful Silent in the Morning, and shares the lead on Rift, alternating with Trey in the superb title track. Whenever I here live tapes containing songs from Rift, most of them seem rushed, the vocals emotionless, and the guitar licks hurried and flat. I always return to the CD to hear the well defined instrumentation, harmonies, and emotion the live shows just don't capture. Phish as a live act is second to none, and I guess you really can't compare the studio work and the live performances because they are designed to work differently. The live, jam-oriented shows, reflect a true interraction between phish and the audience. No other live band has as close a bond with its fans. In terms of studio work, however, Rift is far and away Phish's best and most complete offering. I love the way the vocals are alternated during the chorus of It's Ice and at the end of Sparkle. For me the Ironic aspect of this album stems from the hardcore Phish fans used to the live shows, the groove, and those great jams. As a musician, I look for dynamics, unique twists, and tight, well defined playing. Rift as a studio work is the perfect example of this. If your're into the creative, experimental, long and fun jams, and overall mood and feel of a true community, go to a live phish show. Everyone should go to at least one in their lifetime, because you won't get that feeling from a studio release."
It's a winner, possessing quality and continuity.
Harry Drinkwater | 09/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I understand it, this was the first album where the band used a producer, and it shows. Rhythmically, they are the tightest band I have ever heard, and this, coupled with their obvious understanding of musical composition, is more pronounced by the enhanced production values. The title track draws you in with the everpresent counterplay between piano (Page McConnell) and guitar (Trey Anastasio), as usual puncuated by mystically obscure lyrical images: "I struggled with destiny up on the ledge/ And gasped when, defeated, he slipped off the edge." Every song on the album needs to be heard. From the whimsy of "Sparkle" and the enchanting blend of accoustic guitar and super-climactic electric rock in "My Friend, My Friend," to "Horse/Silent in the Morning," which closes the album leaving you emotionally satisfied and somewhat wistful. The album is so musically substantial that I often feel somewhat drained when it is over. But I listen to it again, and again, and again..."
Harry Drinkwater | 07/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, this album officially made me a Phish-head. I bought Billy Breathes before, and it was a great collection, don't get me wrong, but Rift blows it away completely. It is an elaborate concept album about a dream, from start to finish. The first two songs establish the situation, the last two the resolution, and everything in between the subject matter. Songs like "Sparkle", "My Friend, My Friend" and "Its Ice" perfectly establish the poignant but vague feel of a long dream. Other highlights are: "Mound" "Weigh" "That Horse" and "Silent in the Morning." Beautifully done."
The album that turned me off and then back on to Phish!
Langel | Ann Arbor, MI | 04/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Approximately 4 years ago I heard Phish for the first time. I was unimpressed immediately. I felt betrayed that my friends would pick this God-awful jam-band over our usual playlist (Marley, Hendrix, the Doors, etc.) It seemed to me that this was music where the songs with no words lasted 14 minutes and the short ones with words made no sense whatsoever with no exceptions.(This isn't entirely inaccurate "Weigh" is crazy, but also incredibly funny in its randomness) The first Phish song that I ever heard was "Wedge." I was on the brink of getting into this song until I heard it for the millionth time. It started to get incredibly annoying! Then I heard "Lengthwise" (Both of them.) Again, not impressed. I was out. For three years I built a wall around myself. No Phish allowed. I would say things like "It's just a bunch of guys who think that they are the Grateful Dead or something." But over the last 4 years, with such a heavy saturation of Phish music, apparel, and jargon from all of my friends, and I do mean ALL OF MY FRIENDS, the wall began to erode. And within the last year I started to see why the Vermont quartet had interested my friends so much in previous years after hearing the songs "Mound" and "Rift" at a party. These songs have excellent lyricism and musicianship. Just from listening to these two songs my Phish prejudices came to an end. I came to the realization that Phish wasn't a Dead-clone at all. They have a sound entirely their own. Though very much in the spirit of the Dead, (Musical Experimentation, Long Jam Sessions, Endless Touring, etc.) Phish is not the Dead in any way (They just picked up the torch when Jerry died.) Things have now come full circle. I have realized that the entire album of "Rift" is meant to be listened to as a whole and songs shouldn't be skipped. (This will kill Phish for you as it did for me.) The song "Lengthwise" fits in to the entirety of the album and makes sense where it is. So, don't skip "Lengthwise" until you've heard the entire album at least once (It won't make any sense,) and don't listen to "Wedge" too much because it will get annoying and stuck in your head The whole album is quite an achievement in its continuation of a theme dealing with sleep and dreams. So just sit back, relax, and let yourself float downstream in the audible dream that is Phish's "Rift." (The first song on the album is called "Rift" and does sound a little like Widespread Panic but don't let this scare you away. It's an incredible album.)"