Listen: Phish Share “Hey Stranger,” Lead Track from Forthcoming Album ‘Evolve’

Listen: Phish Share “Hey Stranger,” Lead Track from Forthcoming Album ‘Evolve’

Photo Credit: Danny Clinch

Continuing its exhilarating album rollout, Phish have shared “Hey Stranger,” the first track and third preview single from the trailblazing jam outfit’s 16th studio album Evolve. Due to release on July 12 as the band’s first studio record since 2020’s Sigma Oasis, the new project collects fan favorites introduced by Trey Anastasio that have since become live staples for the full band and revamps them with Phish’s trademark polished and expansive studio sound. The latest single follows this theme, turning up the heat on a recent Anastasio centerpiece with a heavy funk backbeat and pounding percussion.

Released on the artist’s 2022 quarantine dispatch Mercy, Trey’s original “Hey Stranger” is a sparse and stirring acoustic track that simmers with emotional force left tersely restrained. Phish’s treatment diverges from this template dramatically, bringing the titanic weight of the moody, insistent track to bear through a meticulous new arrangement that struts like a streetbeater theme straight out of a ‘70s neo-noir flick. A funky, gritty groove provides a red-hot baseline, from which the band builds out a ripping jam with wailing synths, thumping breakbeats and a commanding guitar solo. Altogether, the song is an undeniably strong intro to a top-tier project, further exemplified by the preceding singles “Oblivion” and “Evolve.”

“Hey Stranger” is one of the five tracks on Evolve that can be traced to Anastasio’s two recent solo albums, Lonely Trip and Mercy. Elsewhere, “Life Saving Gun” was first heard on January, the 2023 collaboration between Anastasio and Page McConnell, and five further entries–“Pillow Jets,” “Monsters,” “Oblivion,” “Valdese” and “Ether Edge”–were debuted by the trio of Anastasio, Fishman and Dezron Douglas in 2023. All of these tracks reflect a prolific period of recharged creativity that the band has exhibited in the past few years, which culminated in its game-changing residency at Las Vegas’ Sphere in April; many of the songs to be featured on Evolve were rehearsed in this run, and the only completely unfamiliar entry is the enticing “Human Nature.” Longtime producers Vance Powell and Bryce Goggin reprise their roles on the record, which was captured in the fall of 2023 at The Barn, the band’s hallowed Vermont studio.

Evolve is available to pre-order now from the Phish Dry Goods store; vinyl listeners will have exclusive access to the bonus track “The Well.” Learn more about the band, its upcoming album and its 2024 tour plans at phish.com.

Listen to “Hey Stranger” below and read on for the complete tracklist of Evolve.

Phish – Evolve:
Hey Stranger
Oblivion
Evolve
A Wave of Hope
Pillow Jets
Lonely Trip
Life Saving Gun
Monsters
Ether Edge
Human Nature
Valdese
Mercy
The Well*
* Vinyl Only

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