Phish announces 'Big Boat'

The Phish from Vermont announced the release of their 13th studio album “Big Boat” on Oct. 7. Producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed) is back after working with the band on their 2014 album “Fuego.”

Ezrin challenged the quartet of Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell and Jon Fishman to write from a more emotional point of view on “Big Boat.” And the band, not often known for its lyrics, responded with a number of deeply personal songs, including Trey Anastasio’s ballad “Miss You.”

Fans may recognize the title as a metaphor that members often cite in interviews, comparing the experience of playing together to sailing a boat. Plus, it fits into Phish’s already water-soaked catalog (“Waves, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing,” “Water in the Sky,” “Moma Dance” and others).

Phish shared the laid back #breezyrocker “Breath and Burning” with NPR yesterday. The song, written after the band’s run of concerts in Mexico last January, is about celebrating the moment even in the shadow of death. (And features a nod to keyboardist Page McConnell. “We’re gonna rage with Page against the dying of the light.”) Have a listen:

Hardcore Phish phans are quick to dismiss the group’s studio efforts and focus on the live experience. And yes, the experiences are totally different, with the band often stretching out songs with improvisational jams in the live setting, but the studio albums allow for a more intimate listen and brings more attention to the band’s songwriting development. I don’t mind Phish getting more emotional and serious. The jams and fun will always be there, but who really wants to hear four musicians in their fifties writing more songs about grape apple pies and the adventures of Fluffhead?

The track list to “Big Boat” was briefly posted on iTunes yesterday and features a number of songs already debuted by the band.

1. Friends (3:42)
2. Breath and Burning (4:20) *4:20 for a song with “burning” in the title. Good one Phish.
3. Home (6:26)
4. Blaze On (4:20) *Another 4:20 timing for another song with vague weed references. OK, Phish.
5. Tide Turns (4:21)
6. Things People Do (1:54)
7. Waking Up Dead (4:15)
8. Running Out of Time (3:32)
9. No Men in No Man’s Land (4:59)
10. Miss You (7:01)
11. I Always Wanted it this Way (4:29)
12. More (4:22)
13. Petrichor (13:22)

The album features songs with lead vocals from each band member and, like, most Phish albums includes a wide range of musical genres like psych rock (“Waking Up Dead”), funk (“No Men in No Man’s Land!!”), bluegrass (“Things People Do”) and even one of Trey’s compositions from his symphony tour (“Petrichor”). Fans took to Twitter with mixed (mostly bad) reviews.


Get a feel for the new songs with live versions from Phish’s summer tour.


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Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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