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PHOENIX Phoenix/In Full View Renaissance (2009)


Phoenix formed out of the ashes of Argent in 1976 with guitarist John Verity joining Jim Rodford (bass) and Bob Henrit (drums). This 2fer brings together the band's debut album and the follow up but the content is really not startling, lacking the instrumental pizzazz and stronger song structures present in their former band.

1976's 'Phoenix' is fairly average blues-tinged rock and there really isn't a standout track whilst 1980's 'In Full View' includes the sax-tinged 'Just Another Day', but it's a Russ Ballard song as if to underline this problem in the writing department.

Phoenix never realised the promise and potential of Argent (who themselves could be a bit patchy) and will remain forever a musical footnote and a missed opportunity. Such bands were easily snaffled up by the onset of punk and new wave at the turn of the seventies.

Verity's main claim to fame is that he produced the first Saxon album whilst Jim Rodford later joined The Kinks and more recently a new incarnation of Rod Argent's old band The Zombies.

This reissue benefits from the remastering but there is lack of liner note that would have made for a more complete and sympathetic package.

You may have seen both albums in the past - on vinyl and in the bargain bins - and perhaps wondered if it is worth the indulgence. On the evidence of this reissue: it isn't.


Review by David Randall

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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