Press File: Back To The Pavilion


Private Parts And Pieces II "Back To The Pavilion"  - Anthony Phillips (PVC)

Recorded back in 1976 and 1977, Anthony Phillips' magnum opus harkens back to even earlier times - to the late Sixties and early Seventies, when Tolkien, the buying of large estates in northern England and Scotland by rock stars, and a certain drift over the deep end of fantasy and self-indulgence, led to a renaissance of fancifully named, intricately orchestrated and obscurely symbolic long winded "symphonic" compositions.

Private Parts has the virtue of being a late comer to the field - hence, it is carefully structured and moves in a perceivable direction.  Creating a mood midway between old Scottish and early King Crimson, Phillips has made his unwieldy form and concept work pleasantly, which is saying quite a lot.

Reviewer unknown, "What's New", Boston, October 1980

Anthony Phillips - Private Parts & Pieces II (PVC)
Rod Argent - Moving Home (MCA Import)

For their visionary solo albums, Anthony Phillips and Rod Argent - two refugees from the chart wars - have returned to the same classic sources.

Phillips and Argent share management which gives the two considerably more creative leeway than membership in Genesis or the defunct Argent (their respective former bands) would allow.  They also share the services of a number of studio wizards who've helped ready this pair of crystal-clear recordings.  Their music won't hit you over the head as a good heavy metal song would, but their craftsmanship can creep up and remind you that counterpoint and lyricism still have a place in rock.

Though Argent's use of jazz/rock back-up players throughout Moving Home helps make it the more consistely dynamic of the two discs, it is noteworthy that more than half of Phillips' LP was done at home - yet his performance never sinks to the McCartney II basement level.  The compositions of Phillips and Argent can be so similar that on spare Phillips instrumentals such as "Spring Meeting" you can almost hear Argent's voice filling out the sound.

Phillips and Argent record with a plethora of overdubbed keyboard and stringed instruments and - in Argent's case - voices.  Argent's singing is choirboy-smooth, while Phillips' has always been emotive, even (on the instrumental Private Parts II) dispensable in the presence of the guitars and synthesizer he handles so well.  Both musicians build intensely remote or heartfelt moods as they alternately work Chopin nocturnes and a solid beat into the progressive popular vocabulary.

Private Parts II and Moving Home (with its echoes of Zombies harmony and Beach Boys lilt on first-rate numbers like "Home") are albums that have everything to do with texture and feel, and nothing to do with the sellout platinum mentality that pervades the recording scene.

Richard Hogan
Circus Magazine, July 1980


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