the Beat and Reigning In The Rock.
Review by Jon Dunmore © Sep 2005
timbre of Phil Smith's voice is like a shard of glass from a window you had to
break with your fist to get back into your house after locking your keys inside.
a good thing.
voice and his songwriting skills save this production, which lacks for definitive
"edge". Though the collection is made up of catchy tunes, they seem
reigned in to appeal to a commercial standard (straightforward drum fills and
obvious accents), rather than being allowed to flower with their own character.
"Post-Beatles" is a semantic that lets a wide spectrum of stylists
off the hook; when this sobriquet is employed, one must consider that the gift
The Beatles (ahem - Lennon & McCartney) gave the world was in illustrating
how rock and roll need not remain stagnant, but a developing entity - therefore,
that is the idiom I believe should be referred to when offhandedly citing
"Post-Beatles". Consequently, PLS is not "Post-Beatles",
for the reasons expressed above. Rather, it is simply "The Beatles"
- early to mid-period. "Post-Beatles" would have "allowed the songs
are jazz influences to be sure, and also what some might term AOR, and with the
heavy delay and reverb in "Our Only World", his voice sure do evoke
that Lennon boy's tonsils... Smith does sport a tremendous voice, with excellent
pitch, control and range. The album also exudes some distant reminiscence of Todd
Rundgren's "lesser-produced" albums, like "Runt" or "Hermit
Of Mink Hollow".
mention "lesser-produced", because - to Smith's credit - there is a
healthy "sparseness" to the production, displayed on even the most heavily-layered
tracks, allowing the music its right to breathe.
Smith is a stunning vocalist and drummer, and though he wears many hats in this
production, my personal tastes would have seen him wrenching a few more planks
loose on those two aspects, rather than keeping it as staid as he does. Maybe
that's called "self-control" - something which even Phil knows I lack
that end, this is not the album you would put on just before entering a barroom
brawl. Rather, cruising with the top down in the city and hearing the animal sounds
of the streets wash through your graying locks.