REVIEW - Phil Redmon - Home S**t Home (Album)
Own up time with this review! Ipswich songwriter Phil Redmon's new album is not your traditional 'Ballroom Blitz's Man At The Back' fayre, being a (pretty much) mostly acoustic album of singer-songwriter tunes with not a drum or bass (what???!!!) in sight. I'm not about to give the 'rawk' up any time soon, but Phil and myself have a history in various musical endeavours over the years (too many to count) and when he asked me to write a review for his new album, I was happy to oblige (have to get the asterisks out for the title though Phil, sorry!).
Phil has been very much one of those 'under the radar' band of musicians who peeps over the parapet from time to time with some new music. Those of you with long memories will know him for the 1990s as songwriter and vocalist with bands Gorgeous and Darwin, but for most of the early part of the 21st Century he's concentrated his musical activities on presenting an engaging radio show on Ipswich Community Radio (ICR). However, he's kept his songwriting flame alight and this new album adds some new material to a few older songs to showcase his excellent songwriting and flexible, sonorous vocals.
'Home S**t Home' has fifteen melodic, introspective gems that are by turns heartbroken, bitter, reflective and quirky and are well worth repeated plays to catch-up on those lyrical jewels you missed the first time round; both clever and impassioned words pepper the whole album. Augmenting Phil's sometime propulsive rhythm guitar playing, Gordon Law's lead guitar lines (never showy, always effective) brings an added layer to the songs while Haydn Morris' production touches (rolling waves on opener 'The Last Day Of Summer', the doorbell on 'Avon' (sample lyric - 'She never said goodbye, Avon stopped calling'), the sound of traffic on the 'Long, Long, Long' like 'Warming To Metal', and various sound effects throughout the album) gives the album an always interesting sonic undertow and a sheen that lifts it above the lo-fi category that these type of albums sometime fit into.
Personal favourites include the fragile, lilting ballad 'Love Is Not Enough', 'Lipstick & Broom' ('It's true what they say, witchcraft doesn't pay'), the gorgeous (sorry!) 'Silent Conversation' with it's church-like ambient sound, delicate guitar playing and ultra-reflective lyrics and the closing trio of tracks - the stately 'Slow Winter' with fine supporting vocals from Julie Leveque, the heart-wrenching 'Runs' with more fine intricate guitar playing, and the paean to lost love 'Part Of Me' which brings the only bit of 'noise' on the album with the sudden dual electric guitar break mid-song which is as exhilarating as it is surprising.
'Home S**t Home' has fifteen tracks with nary a filler track amongst them which gives a satisfying listen for those of you who are fond of your singer-songwriters and acoustic tunesmithery with poignant and intelligent lyrical content. Hopefully this will spur Phil into releasing more material before too long and picking up where he left off. Biased I might be, but this is an album which is well worth curling up with on a dark night , glass of something in hand and diving into these fine songs.
'Home S**t Home' is available from Phil's Bandcamp page - www.philredmon.bandcamp.com