Press File: CD Reissues


Review #1                Review #2

The Geese And The Ghost (Virgin CDOVD 315) ***
Sides (Virgin CDOVD 316) **
Private Parts & Pieces I (Virgin CDOVD 317) ****

Showing less patience than Peter Gabriel and less prevarication than Phil Collins, Anthony Phillips left Genesis after the band's first Charisma LP 21 years ago.  He's recorded a vast amount of his own guitar (and sometimes keyboard) work, occasionally supplemented by friends and pseudonyms.  These three titles are the opening salvo in a barrage of Phillips CDs which Virgin plan to release this year; nine more are to follow.

Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford help out on The Geese And The Ghost (1977), a civilised collection of ballads and madrigals in more manageable chunks than Mike Oldfield.  Even the grandiose concepts come in snippets.  The six-part Henry; Portraits From Tudor Times, for example, is more refined than Rick Wakeman's ersatz bombast, though it tends to be more relaxing than riveting, the melodies are undeniably attractive and, at their best, affecting, especially the exquisite God If I Saw Her Now.  The extra track is a seven-minute demo for Master Of Time which might more usefully have remained under lock and key.  Otherwise, nice.

Sides (1979) is both more varies and variable with slick production touches from Rupert Hine that seem somehow alien to Phillips' sleepy bucolic outlook.  Untypically, this is a collection of songs rather than meditative instrumentals and room is even found for sax man Mel Collins on Holy Deadlock (buried in the mix, mind).  There's smart stickwork throughout by Mike Giles although portentious stuff like Sisters of Remindum and Nightmare is asking for overkill with Hine's hands on the knobs.

Private Parts And Pieces is an archival update of material originally recorded between 1972 and 1976.  It ranges from the Philip Glass-like austerity of Beauty And The Beast, through acoustic sweetmeats such as Field of Eternity and Flamingo, to brief gems like Harmonium In The Dust and Lullaby, marvellous melodies fit to make Mike Oldfield weep with envy.  In an outstanding collection, the highlight is perhaps Tregenna Afternoons, a duet for 12-string and classical guitar that skilfully skirts the twee in its path.  The "bonus" tracks are a brace of sentimental songs that are merely rude interruptions in an otherwise serenely introspective compilation.

Monty Smith, Q Magazine 1991

Anthony Phillips - 1984 (Virgin CDOVD 321), Wise After The Event (CDOVD 322)

The Anthony Phillips Band - Invisible Men (Virgin CDOVD 323)

Former Genesis guitarist Anthony Phillips bailed out early in the band's career to pursue his own - an opportunity that allowed him the space to spread his own musical ideas.

Wise After The Event, released in 1978, has many of the traits of his former band locked into the grooves.  Flanked by a massive (and impressive) orchestra of rock musicians and armed with a sheaf of original material (some brooding with social conscience) Phillips makes it look like punk never happened.  Peter Cross's album artwork (depicting a squirrel nibbling a golf ball on the moon) only helps to intensify the feeling of progressive deja vu.  Genesis fans will adore it (6 out of 10)

All was to change when Phillips stripped down to a three-piece for 1984, a keyboard-based instrumental based on George Orwell's book and owing much to Mike Oldfield.  1984 does, however, possess a certain power that keeps you coming back for more, and Phillips is to be congratulated for having a stab at something different. (6 out of 10)

Invisible Men tried both styles by teaming keyboards and synthesizers with a set of Malteser-light love songs.  These were punctuated with 'Ballad of Penlee' (based on the Penlee lifeboat disaster of '83) and 'Exocet' (where Phillips crawls inside the brain of a lethal missile) to add the occasional shock.  Here, the Phillips formula is at it's most successful and Invisible Men still stands as a fine achievement.  Too bad it's Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins who get all the attention while Phillips remains almost ignored. (7 out of 10)

Edwin Pouncey, "Record Hunter", March 1992 

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