Phideaux is a project between singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Phideaux Xavier and drummer Rich Hutchins. The duo also have the help of a host of other musicians who help out with vocals, flutes, keyboards, cellos, and all sorts of other instruments. The resulting Chupacabras, their fourth album, is an uplifiting mix of prog, space rock, and melodic pop. Upon listening to this release, I instantly thought of Man on Fire, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, and perhaps a little David Bowie. There's plenty to like here, from the epic title track, complete with an array of male and female vocals (that are quite stunning actually), various reeds, lots of Mellotron and other keyboards, guitar and percussion, to the warm proggy sounds of "Party" and "Fortress of Sand". On the other hand, if you like more aggressive material, "Ruffian on the Stairs" starts off with an onslaught of metal guitars, before turning into a dark and moody blend of electronica and progressive metal. "Titan" goes the opposite direction, combining gripping melancholy with haunting vocals, melodic guitars, and spacey keyboards, giving the song a sort of Porcupine Tree or Pink Floyd feel. This was a song that was originally written while Xavier was in the band Satyricon, and here it's given a real majestic treatment. The alternating between Xavier's vocals and that of Valerie Gracious works quite well.
In doing a little research, I found out that Chupacabras is actually reported to be an animal native to Mexico and Puerto Rico that is notorious for attacking and consuming the blood of livestock. This "goat sucker" could perhaps be a urban legend or a real beast, but regardless, it's an interesting creature to name an album after. As for the album, this is a fun collection of songs that would appeal to a wide variety of listeners, as it has enough elements of prog, space/ambient, pop, and heavy rock to fit many molds.
4. Fortress Of Sand
5. Ruffian On The Stairs
7. Return Of The Ruffian