Phish have released "The Line," the 2nd studio recording from their upcoming album, Fuego. Listen to the audio stream above via Rolling Stone.
The song tells the story of a college basketball player who steps up to the free throw line at the end of a close game with an opportunity to be the hero - but fails. When the song was debuted on Halloween of 2013 as part of the now infamous Wingsuit set, lead singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio told the crowd:
Dedicated with much love to the incredible Darius Washington, Jr. that song is about his experience when he missed those two free throws at the end of the Final Four Michigan State game. We love him, and we can relate.
Phish.net has a full explanation of the basketball reference, and the actual facts which Trey got mostly wrong on stage.
"The Line" meanders between mellow and emotional, putting Trey's voice front and center. Keyboards and drums are also very present, alongside the guitar and bass. There are some nice vocal harmonies, and the song fades out on an ambient jam. The album was recorded at Ronnie's Place and Anarchy Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Phish's own "The Barn" in Burlington. It's Phish's first collaboration with producer Bob Ezrin, and drummer Jon Fishman shared a quote about making the record:
For years, there's been a distinct difference between how we did things live and how we did them in the studio... But the way we go about things live, the way the musical ball is passed around, is now happening much more in the studio – not because we're trying to duplicate how we play on stage, just because this is how we operate as a band, period.
Fuego is due out on June 24th. Go to Phish Dry Goods to pre-order the album as well as limited edition artwork, clothing, and bundles. Check below for the cover art for "The Line" and Fuego.