Phase II - Afterglow [Ahnstern - 2010]Phase II are a late 70’s to early 80’s American based progressive-folk band who have recently reformed. This rather wonderful collection brings together a selection of old and new work from this distinctive and creative project, that sadly never got their the recognition they clearly deserved when they where around the first time around.
Phase II was co-founded in 1978 by Mark Andrews (Blue Grass) and Nicholas Tesluk(Changes), in a mid-sized prairie town in northern Colorado USA. The pair are both multi- instrumentalist and play a mixture of the following: electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, flute, various synths, recorder & electric bass. And the projects line-up was finished off by Cyrus M. Beatty who handles all drums & percussive elements.
Phase II sound is a very distinctive and often quirky mixture of folk, prog, pop and 70’s synth scaping. The project was only in existence until 1981, and sadly they only ever released a very ltd 7inch EP in 1979, and a few odd tracks appeared on folk compilations over the years. In 2004 the pair met again and decided to re-form, and this collection features seven tracks recorded between 2007 & 2008.
The disc is split into three sections the “Progressive Phase” which starts the disc off, and these tracks sound like a quirky and atmospheric mixture of : Rush, Jeff Wayne, up-beat folk rock, throbbing 70’s synth pop and whooshing synth scapes. Then there’s the “Acoustic Phase” which is covered by a great tripped-out and very 70’s radio program performance from 1978, which features eleven tracks of twin acoustic guitar and voiced songs which are much more folky, but still very enjoyable and distinctive. Then lastly we have the “Afterglow Phase” which features tracks from when the band got back together, and these tracks are mixed through-out the collection. And really these are a more updated version of the band sound which really is a mixture of the Progressive and acoustic phase- and they still sound very distinctive and one off. In all there’s just shy of 70 minutes worth of great music on offer here.
The collection is topped off with a great and informative 16 page booklet which charts the bands history, and also features old pictures of the pair from the 70’s, poster artwork and pictures of the pair now. So truly this is a great celebration of this creative, distinctive, but sadly forgotten band who mix together folk, prog and pop elements together into an appealing and quirky whole.
I can see “Afterglow” appealing to a wide rage of tastes from those who enjoy 70’s prog, onto people who dig quirky yet dramatic folk music, and lastly fans of whooshing and spacey 70/ 80’s synth music. So if your fall into any of those brackets this is a must buy release!Roger Batty