By David Browne
Updated November 27, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

How Deadhead-style times have changed: Phish, ”the most popular cult band” (according to music writer/co-author Richard Gehr), are afforded an upscale, band-sanctioned coffee-table book. As with Phish’s music, The Phish Book doesn’t conform to conventional structures. Tracing a year in their life (1996-97), it alternates Gehr’s effusive, notch-above-fanzine narrative with non-acidic flashbacks of the band members discussing their favorite records, bands, and gigs. The design and photography are sharp and stylish. But noninitiates will still end up bewildered by the appeal of these uncharismatic noodleheads. B