Joy, the new disc by the reunited Phish, contains many bright moments and some reflective ones.
Beginning the project with "Backwards Down the Number Line," singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio seems to channel his history with the band and his scrapes with rehab. "Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan" continues along this context, but also careens wildly with an odd, explosive nature, courtesy of Jon Fishman on drums and Mike Gordon on bass. "Sugar Shack" is keyboardist Page McConnell’s homage to R&B pop structures, and the title track urges fans to "be happy, because this is your song too."
"Kill Devil Falls" contains a monster riff that Phish expands upon, and their dance happy flock will surely be pleased by the intricate arrangements inherent inside of the epic "Time Turns Elastic." There is much to celebrate on Joy, but, perhaps the best moment belongs to the timeless sing-along, "Ocelot."
Produced by Steve Lillywhite, Joy is Phish’s high watermark, a mindbender of a rock opus that is guaranteed to win over a new wave of followers. Let’s hope that they continue with the good work restarted here.
Joy is out now on JEMP.