Phideaux | Ghost Story

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Psychedelic Moods: Mood: Weird
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Ghost Story

by Phideaux

Classic rock with a progressive tinge. Alternates between heavy aggressive rock and soulful low key mysterio rock. Definitely one for headphones or after a bit of a smoke... The stars come out tonight...
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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1. Everynight
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5:14 $0.99
2. Feel the Radiation
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4:02 $0.99
3. A Curse of Miracles
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6:25 $0.99
4. Kiteman
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4:30 $0.99
5. Wily Creilly
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5:24 $0.99
6. Beyond the Shadow of Doubt
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7:45 $0.99
7. Ghostforest
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5:45 $0.99
8. Universally
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5:45 $0.99
9. Come Out Tonight
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5:52 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Ghost Story" (Bloodfish ZYZ 1618): The seconde album from hard hitting drummer Rich Hutchins and singersonger Phideaux Xavier. "Ghost Story" is firmly placed in the "classic" rock sound of the 70s but from a more current perspective. Darker and heavier than the previous ("Fiendish"), "Ghost Story" maintains the same precision production and emphasis on vocals and melody. Reminiscent of Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Bowie, this album contains a few epic tracks and several shorter songs which we believe you will be humming for a long time to come.

If you don't believe me, listen to what these fine folks have to say....

"The new album from Phideaux is even better than the last. ... There just isn't anybody else playing music like this today. Unique and very special."
"www.coolnoise.co.uk"

"Possessing a slightly heavier edge, but still containing characteristic shades of psychedelia, Ghost Story (subtitled 'A Lullaby In Nine Movements') is another excellent collection of great songs that draw on the numerous influences that Phideaux openly admits to being inspired by."
Mark Hughes "Dutch Progressive Rock Page" "www.dprp.net"

"a funhouse ride of musical surprises"
Duke Egbert "www.dailyvault.com"

"... continues with the Pink Floyd influences but does so this time with a more complex and spaced out mix. The opening number is extremely busy with loads going on in the background-just close enough for you to hear but not enough for it to sound cluttered. The vocals are a step up from the last album and on the production and engineering side he totally outdoes himself."
J-Sin "smother.net"


Reviews


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GothicGuru (John Miller)

My choice of favorite song of the year "Wily Creilly"
Macbre perfection. So good it can relieve depression. He's been compared to many but in truth he is unique. If you like glam, goth, rock, or anything in between you should LOVE this album. If you had to pay what it was worth no one could afford it.

ken s

the greatness changes and continues
ghost story has hints of fiendish (eg. universally) and hints at chupacabras. it is heavier than fiendish, more of a psychadelic rock this time, but still holding up with great production, very clean sound. the fuzz guitar weaves in and out, then takes front and centre. the acoustic guitar takes a lesser role but is there at all the right times. all songs are great; favs this time: everynight, kiteman, wily creilly, universally, & come out tonight. a few references :bowie, t-rex, robyn hitchcock plus all the others......enjoy!

Old_Mac_User

More than worth the purchae price
Enjoying his other CD, Fiendish, I purchased Ghost Story. Turns out, that was an excellent choice. It has a grittier sound that Fiendish, and just as enjoyable. This fits right in with my collection, which includes: Genesis, Kansas, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Pineapple Thief, Ambeon, ELP, The Flower Kings, etc. If you like these bands, please check out Phideaux. You won't be disappointed.

Jonas Bang

Superb storytelling folkprogrock
Phideaux continues where his first album Fiendish finnished. Once again I'm impressed by the work this man is releasing. Ghost Story continues a wide range of influences, from acoustic to rather heavy rock tunes, and it never looses the emotional and dreamy vein along the journey. I am a true progfan, but I would say this album has a lot to offer for any folkrock lover as well.

Jim Mills

Fun, Trippy, and Bloody Lovely...
I think this is probably the most instantly catchy of Phideaux's works up to 313. Check out the samples above in hi-fi and hear for yourself!

David Arthur-Simons

Proof of the Theory
Ghost Story (a lullaby in nine movements); by Phideaux

Early in 2004 Phideaux followed 2003’s “Fiendish” with another CD called “Ghost Story, (a lullaby in nine movements)”. The sub title seems to suggest to me a period of sleep or an induction into sleep that might in fact refer to the 11 year hibernation period between Phideaux’s first release “Friction” in 1992 and his re-emergence in 2003 with “Fiendish”. The first half of “Ghost Story” is a kind of exorcism, it is full of songs of anger, rage and disillusion, it seems to continue where “Fiendish” left off. But the second half breaks new ground and is full of inspirational and even mystical songs that make clear that Phideaux has moved on from his 60’s psychedelic roots, accepted his middle age status and decided to look life squarely and evenly in the face.

The first song “everynight” begins with a guitar that sounds like it’s being looped back into itself. This is soon replaced by a bell-like sounding keyboard. These two short introductions create a magical sounding atmosphere that make it clear we are in a magical and mythological time and space, the place favored by Phideaux. Almost as soon as you register what is going on everything comes to an abrupt ending as everything winds down and sounds like a power failure has taken place. We step now into a new world, post-delusion. Enter an eerie low key drum, guitar and bare vocal which takes up the song proper “everynight”. This then gives way to a thumping driving rhythm that places us right in middle of the jungle, the shadowland of our own inner dialogue. “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?” are the “unrelenting howls” of this song, and as one might expect there are no answers. The song ends with a very pretty but disturbing chanting of the words “oh I don’t know, oh I don’t know”. Once again Phideaux plummets the depth of his soul in search of answers to the perennial questions. The disillusionment that began on “Fiendish” continues, but now it more real and contemporary.

The next song “Feel the Radiation” is a post-mortem on falling in love. What seemed like something that one would desire should never end is now understood to have been a “toxic”, a radioactive situation. A let-it-all-hang-out rock and roll number, that leaves you right in the middle of the road.

“a curse of miracles” describes an emotionally sado-masochistic relationship, and is full of glorious vocal and musical build ups that create a rich tapestry.

“kiteman” is a nostalgic recall of a child who longs to fly and once he is in fact up in the sky he wants to come down. It’s a bitter sweet song, that can be either annoying or tragic depending on your mood.

“wily creilly” starts out sounding like a continuation of Genesis’ “Selling England by the Pound” but then an organ interlude takes it into a much more sinister realm where it gives full expression to the “monster within”, that occasionally figures in Phideaux’s work. Here, the monster “wily creilly” as he is named is allowed to have full albeit whimsical expression. Ultimately he is made to go back in the box, from whence he issues a threat proclaiming that he will never be contained, thus making tangible the duality and dichotomy of Phideaux’s work.

Up to this point we have seen Phideaux tread familiar ground on “Ghost Story” but the last 4 songs go way beyond that and usher in an entirely new phase of maturity and depth in Phideaux’s musical and lyrical ability. One song in particular reaches monumental heights through experiencing grief head on.

“beyond the shadow of a doubt” is more surreal and obtuse lyrically and musically than any of Phideaux’s previous songs. It bursts forth into an entirely new territory and reveals a maturity of theme and technique. It begins with an ethereal vocal prelude that asks the question “what have we done?” that immediately sets a very super-natural setting and cuts to the very core with its metaphysical question. The song initially sounds like it is a missing song from Genesis’ first record “Genesis to Revelation” but soon moves into a the web-like musical DNA helix groove that grows in ever increasing spirals of anticipation and terror (of the serpent) and builds to an almighty climax. The song ends with a long instrumental coda that is so rich, dynamic, hypnotic and utterly spell binding, it simulates a timeless floating through space in a spaceship that is quite breathtaking!! It sounds like an ambient piece from the second half of Roxy Music’s “For Your Pleasure” or something from Hawkwind). This song is the culmination of all the bits and pieces that make up so many of Phideaux’s songs. Here everything finally comes together perfectly and seamlessly like it’s never done before. The lyrics (often the weakest part in Phideaux’s songs) are here just snatches of ideas, incompletely thoughts said in haste as the characters race towards or away from some undisclosed danger (the serpent). The half lines have much more impact and conviction than some of Phideaux’s than some of Phideaux’s complete line that sometimes sound a little half baked. These impressionistic lyrics fit in perfectly with all the various musical styles and phases of the song. At last the two, sound and vision, have married in a harmonious and symbiotic whole. This is surely what Phideaux has been working towards all these years. It is with pleasure and great delight that we receive and welcome him at this exalted height of his creative power.

“ghostforest” begins with a whisper that continues the mood and feel of “beyond the shadow of a doubt”. More absurd and surreal words “No one moves, the rain won’t come” lead us into an uncertain but realistic realm. The song is powerfully driven by drums and wailing guitars. It seems to describe a fire that is raging in a forest, (possibly in “The Battle of Epping Forest” since the music sounds a lot like that illustrious track). Once again, the obtuse impressionistic lyrics add so much more depth to Phideaux’s musical peregrinations and make the song much more interesting and alluring.

“universally” is the masterpiece of the collection referred to earlier and possibly Phideaux’s best song thus far. It is tongue-in-cheek sub-titled “gardening by moonlight” yet it actually does reach down into the deepest recesses of the collective unconscious so that the idea of gardening in the moonlight seems a perfectly apt description of the song. The song is about loss and mourning as well the joy one can feel in realizing that the dearly departed loved one is, in being dead also free and liberated. Every ending is also a beginning. In being able to bring these conflicting emotions together to create a new unthought-of amalgam of emotions lies the wonder and unsurpassed majesty of “universally”. Without doubt this song belongs on Roxy Music’s “For Your Pleasure”. It is a song Bryan Ferry should have written and sung on that album.

The song begins with a magnificent falsetto voice singing what may well be a suicide note. The suicide note is beautifully underlined by a taunt organ accompaniment that echoes and enhances the desperateness and melancholy of the voice and the words. The tone then drops a few octaves as a voice accompanied by the soft chords of an acoustic guitar painfully and rhetorically enunciates the realization that a loved one has passed away. The muffled cymbal sounds that give tone and accent to the acoustic guitar create a magnificent funerary tone as the ashes of the loved one are dispersed back into the universe. The liberation of the loved one creates a sullen void in the singer, who then hallucinates seeing the loved one by a river on a raining night.

The drama builds up so subtly, impressionistically and majestically that it makes me picture a scene that seems to come straight out of Jean Cocteau’s (or Antonioni’s remake of) “The Eagle Has Two Heads”. As the singer imagines himself running through the forest towards the loved one, I picture The Queen from “The Eagle Has Two Heads” in a splendid white flowing gown racing (in slow motion) through a forest on a rainy night to embrace her vision of her dead husband the King. The Queen / Phideaux respectively fall to their knees and dig their hands into the wet soil and realize that the loved one’s ashes are mixed in with that soil and that it is from that soil and ashes that the garden stems. The pathos of this realization, in the darkness, causes the singer to “get high”.

It is a priceless romantic, pre-Raphaelite moment both musically and lyrically. As on “beyond the shadow of a doubt” the loose, surreal and impressionistic lyrics meld so well with the eclectic multi-dimensional music that has for so long been the bench mark of Phideaux’s work, to create a truly post-modern interface of feeling, thought, vision and visceral sensation. It’s quite a magical, mystic and even neurotic moment. In my additional scene from “The Eagle Has Two Heads” as the song proceeds, the music and the vocals (that repeats the refrain “in the darkness”) rise to an thunderous climax, I imagine the Queen (and Phideaux) smearing the wet, muddy soil all over her / his face as well as over the glowing white gown as. The music and the suggested imagery reaches a height and depth not achieved since Roxy Music’s highest musical masterpieces on “Stranded”. Finally it all ends in a percussive fade like an ebbing wave that leaves you gasping for breath and screaming for more of the same.

This magical and neurotic moment of digging one’s hands into the earth is like a modern development of the myth of Orpheus who descends into the Underground to regain his dead wife Eurydice. In our existential world that is devoid of myths and symbols, we collectively seem no longer able to believe in gods and the Underworld, and are no longer able to descent into the Underworld. All entries to the underworld have been sealed up by our disbelief. The best we can do is dig our hands into the earth and smear the ground and ashes of our loved ones onto ourselves. The gross materialism of existentialism has degenerated the timbre of our world to the belief that only what is visible (ie exists tangibly) is real. It’s a sad and apocalyptic indictment of our times, which Phideaux has beautifully captured in this extraordinarily beautiful mini-operatic description of the process of grief.

There is very little to compare with the profound musical and lyrical insight of this soaring masterwork. Both musically, and as a description of the pain and release inherent in loss of a loved on, as well as a philosophical snap shot of our cultural demise it stands with the best of the most accomplished musical masterworks of the greatest band of all time, Roxy Music. How then to complete the CD after this tumultuous track?

“come out tonight” succeeds quite well. It begins with plaintive guitar strums, underpinned by a similarly evocative organ that sound like they could equally be an ancient Greek musical introduction to a drama or notes emanating from a distant galaxy. The lyrics that accompany declare in more broken and impressionistic snatches that “we are all the same, we’re all alone” and that “it’s all the same”. This continues on from “universally” where indirectly these realizations were made in the merging with the wet soil / mud. Guitar and bass add to the mix as Phideaux asks questions about asking questions and presuming answers coming up with a whole list of “maybe” possibilities which brim alternatively with hope, despair, light, darkness and finally resignation to what is as the “stars come out tonight”. The stars become an agnostic hope in the possibility of a brighter future, which in some ways is not unlike the song “Space Brother” that concludes “Fiendish” yet here in this more abstract and impersonal version there seems to be far more hope, far more faith, far more tangible evidence of something greater than the ever popular over-taxed rescuing alien from another planet. It sounds as though Phideaux has undergone some mystical transformation or at least let go of an immense grief that has been crushing and holding him back from revealing his true inner depth of character so much more beautifully revealed through half finished sentences than fully formed ones.

While the first five songs on “Ghost Story” are ordinary, the last four are exceptionally far sighted and show Phideaux moving into the realm of his musical promise realized. The New Musical Express used to have a theory (which was I believe first put forward in relation to Roxy Music’s first three albums) that generally speaking a first good album is or can be a fluke, a second good album is a consolidation and a third good album is a confirmation of a genuine talent that promises great things to come. The theory has been proven again. Phideaux has stepped out of the delusion of his dreams, faced his failings and come through the illusion with a burst of invigorating understanding and acceptance of the world as it is in all its multifarious aspects. He is able to see the world as it really is and not reach outside of it in an idealized way as on “Friction” or in a fantasy way as on “Fiendish”. On “Ghost Story” all ghosts have been exorcised, all that remains is the healing cognition of plain reality. This is a great place from which to begin.

Paul Bugler

Absolute Class
Ghost Story picks up from where "Fiendish" leaves off. Perhaps not as immediately catchy as Fiendish but full of thoughtful tunes with enough originality to stand out as different. I suspect it will eventually overtake Fiendish as my favourite as I plumb the depths that are clearly there to discover.

The music tends towards 'pop' in the sense that it follows a fairly standard verse chorus format but to my mind it still has enough variability and distinctiveness to push it towards the progressive end of the 'pop' scale (who cares about tags anyway!). It reminds me of David Bowie in his Aladin Sane era (my favourite) not only is Phideaux's vocal style beautifully dramatic, but the songs are acoustically based with electric rock backing (if you know what I mean) in similar vein to Bowie at that time.

The production is excellent as are the arrangements and musicianship. This is a class album and I have no hesitation in recommending it.