Collaborating with arranger Don Hart, lead Phish Trey Anastasio has crafted a soundtrack without imagery, a trilogy of movements that ebb and flow with cinematic tension between Hart’s swelling orchestrations and Anastasio’s delicate guitar phrasings.
Album opener “Movement 1” establishes the instrumental atmosphere, leading into Anastasio’s vocal turns on “Movement 2.” “Submarine” comes off like a Rufus Wainwright-conducts-Phish prism of cryptic theatricality, while “Landslide” dances and lilts fluidly, as Hart surrounds Anastasio with a score that suggests Randy Newman’s wry humor, Raymond Scott’s serious whimsy, and John Barry’s sophisticated cool. In “Movement 3,” Anastasio channels his jazz chops, which Hart underpins with more traditional classicism before ultimately returning to the album’s main themes. As an added bonus, Anastasio closes with the acoustic demo that launched the concept, a sonic sketchpad that hints at the majesty that Hart ultimately invests in the work.
— Brian Baker