Glen Phillips – There Is So Much Here
The sound on this recording is excellent, kudos to the engineers, mixing & mastering people who worked with Glen Phillips who produced this himself. Pristine is each tune with crisp drum beats that are there but never intruding on the light touch acoustic guitars, the hum of the bass & the overall atmospheric melodies Phillips has weaved into his showcase.
Toad the Wet Sprocket’s frontman Glen Phillips manages to create a slick sound without sounding like a slick showman. The songs celebrate the joys & sorrows of living each day with introspective lyrics & snappy melodies that make for a good pop song. 11-tracks adorn this 40-minute project There Is So Much Here (Drops Nov 4–Compass Records).
There isn’t anything different here from other similar recordings. Nothing revolutionary, or eye-brow-raising. What is present is a consistent musicianship quality that explores the standard song repertoire of relationships, finding a balance, and providing it through varied musical genres effectively. While Phillips’ voice is pleasant enough it isn’t a captivating vocal.
Glen doesn’t project like Tom Jones, but he doesn’t have to, he’s not aggressive with Jim Morrison’s swagger, or has a compelling tone like Richard Thompson. He’s closer to the elegance & moodiness of the late Nick Drake though. “The Sound of Drinking,” comes close & this is an intense little ballad with that Drake magic moderately misty about each note.
Glen doesn’t have a mainstream vocal but he sounds inviting since he has a different reliable approach. Some songs suit his expressive style more than others. “Big Changes,” is more commercial but it has a splendor in its performance. The music is on full display throughout this tune as the musicianship is sharp & engaging.
Glen shines even more on slow ballads. His warm vocal is akin to singers like Darryl Braithwaite, Paul Hyde & Bruce Cockburn. “The Bluest Eye,” & “Let In Anarchy,” are well-arranged little melodies with good lyrics & fine vocal character.
Glen (vocals/acoustic, electric & rhythm guitars/Chordion/Monark/Tremolo Wurly/CP-80/organ/piano/synths/Clocks/Noire Particles/Cajon/tambourine/M-Tron/samplers/noises/percussion/Spaghetti Western guitar) with Ji Tanzer (drums/electric percussion) & Death Cab for Cutie musician Dave Depper (bass/lead & rhythm electric guitars/12-string electric guitar/tremolo guitar/Arpeggio guitar/acoustic bass/pump organ/RS-202 strings/Nashville high strung guitars/Superego guitars/piano/SH101 bass/M-Tron).
Also, Sean Watkins (baritone & Rubber Bridge guitar), Dominque Arciero & Hannah West (vocals), Cory Gray (piano) & Gary West (bass).
Highlights – “The Sound of Drinking,” “I Was a Riot,” “Big Changes,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Brand New Blue,” “Skeleton For School,” “Call the Moondust” & “Let In Anarchy.” Lots of nice tunes on this CD.
A 16pp stitched lyric insert is included. Color image by Josh Daubin. CD available @ https://glenphillips.bandcamp.com/album/there-is-so-much-here & http://www.glenphillips.com/