It is easy to want to dismiss Phish lyricist Tom Marshall’s new album with his band Amfibian. Since the demise of Phish in 2004, most albums affiliated with the band have been viewed with a real skepticism about the nature of the release: Is it a self-indulgent attempt to live off Phish’s legacy? Is it a way to make a quick buck and put some change in their pocket before the well goes dry?
People have grown tired of these releases; just give us our Phish back, damn it! But much like Page McConnell’s solo effort from earlier this year, Skip the Goodbyes defies those questions. This release – as well as McConnell’s – works because it veers from the Phish sound just enough to tread a new path, yet remains close enough so the music is still comfortable and familiar. For Amfibian, this is helped by the presence of a certain redheaded guitarist on the title track.
Amfibian has shown real growth over the past few years, and Marshall moves them more toward a sound that is reminiscent of feel-good 60s pop (think Rubber Soul-era Beatles). Skip the Goodbyes is by far Amfibian’s strongest release to date, much tighter and more focused than previous albums. While at times a bit repetitive musically, Marshall’s lyrics always keep things interesting and help to recall a bit of Phishy glory.
Skip the Goodbyes is now available on Relix Records