Anthony Phillips's 1979 release Sides was another attempt at commercial rock music; but, as the title might suggest, the album splits itself between the commercial songs of the first side and the progressive rock of the second. Most of the musicians from his preceding album were back, including the potent rhythm section of Michael Giles and John G. Perry. Hardly pensive, the opening track "Um & Aargh" wastes no time making use of the duo. Lyrically, the track relates a perfect account of Phillips's tribulations as a recording artist. But the following "I Want Your Love" goes 180 degrees in the opposite direction (towards schlock), while "Holy Deadlock" seems to borrow its guitar riff from Genesis' "Follow You Follow Me." Never comfortable with his own voice, Phillips enlisted Genesis roadies Dale Newman and Dan Owen for vocal duties, and whether they succeed or not I'll leave up to the listener. "Side Door" sports incredibly slick production (again from Rupert Hine), while "Bleak House" wears a more familiar veneer. The second side's "Sisters of Remindum" is a volatile instrumental that features Phillips on piano; while the excellent "Magdalen" harks back to the best tracks from Phillips's previous album and stands as one of his finest compositions. The closing "Nightmare" is a highlight as well: Completely uncharacteristic, it's a progressive rock stormer, and a rare insight into Phillips as an electric guitarist. This would be one of Phillips's last attempts at pop music, though, as his career would later concentrate on the instrumental vignettes, film and library music of the Private Parts & Pieces series. The first album in the series saw release in late 1978, while others would follow with some regularity over the next several years, all on Passport Records.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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"Always ready with the ray of sunshine"