Whereas Anthony Phillips' debut album The Geese & the Ghost was recorded piecemeal over a period of years, his sophomore set was cut in comparatively record time, a month in fall 1977, just as the first rave reviews for its predecessor hit the stands. It was an invigorating period and Phillips' confidence oozes out of every groove. Without departing from the proto-formula that established Geese among the year's most unexpected treats, Wise After the Event is a far more cohesive set, its highlights sprawling across entire tunes as opposed to the mere passages of before. It lacks, of course, the experimental edge of the earlier album -- there is nothing here to eclipse the first time you heard "Chinese Mushroom Cloud," for instance. There may also be too many sensitive ballads cluttering things up -- even the best can get a shade samey after a while. But the opening "We're All as We Lie" and the multi-textured title track are both career-enhancing classics, placing Phillips in the same kind of folky-art-prog middle ground as Roy Harper traditionally inhabited. And, as such, Wise After the Event emerges both wise and eventful.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson