Trey Anastasio

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It’s best to forget Phish and all its neo-hippie baggage when assessing Trey Anastasio’s solo shot, Shine. Don’t expect long guitar solos, shifting jam landscapes, or far-out tales of Buddhist prodigy weasels named Fee. I know, I know, you Phish-heads may have a hard time letting go—it took me some time to adjust expectations—but trust me, there’s ample reward for those who do. Shine is an exuberant emancipation proclamation that beams with energy and overflows with enthusiasm. Anastasio kicks off and closes Shine on acoustic guitar, but this is a far cry from a mellow singer/songwriter affair. A “Paperback Writer”-style riff ignites “Air Said to Me,” and drummer Kenny Aronoff relentlessly drives the song’s straightforward rock feel, even during the psychedelic bridge and outro detours. The track, “Come as Melody,” commences with a descending motif that lands headfirst into a rock-solid chorus riff, making the track hit as hard as anything Anastasio has ever recorded. The guitarist’s signature creamy, overdriven tone rings out proud-and-clear as he cleanly picks the upper register major triads that introduce the impossibly upbeat, “Tuesday,” which is as Phishy as anything on the menu. For the uninitiated, Shine is Anastasio’s welcome invitation. For the faithful, it’s a warm letter from an old friend who has grown up well, and sounds happy as hell about it. (Columbia).