Phil Lewis - Ripples From A Small Pond
Hailing from Wales, UK, Singer/Songwriter Phil Lewis has been steadily writing and producing music for the past decade or so. In that time he has garnered much praise for his songwriting, placing as a semifinalist in the UK Songwriting Competition and earning assorted praise from many sources. While unfamiliar with his work up to this year's upcoming Ripples From A Small Pond, it's rather easy to see where the good words are coming from after a couple of listens.
No doubt heavily influenced by his youthful experiences listening to Top 40, the songs across this album are generally written in a catchy, radio-friendly format. At it's core is a sound that is just begging to be given ample airtime, but the variety in textures and instrumentation leaves plenty more room for positive impressions. The percussion throughout the album takes on a worldly feel, a groove that pulses with influences from near and far. The album opens on a slice of Bian Eno-esque ambience, "I Think It's Time", which is a wonderful introduction to Lewis' soulful, emotive vocals and uplifting lyrical content that will run consistently through the album. "Everything Just As It Should Be" is quite simply a fantastic song, with bright acoustic guitar floating over a tight bassline and up-tempo drums. One of the album's highlights for sure. "Bright On All Sides" has a modern Paul Simon feel to it, more focused on the guitar's rhythms and tasteful synths. "Back To Budapest" hooks you right in with some upbeat vocal melodies, electric guitar chugs spurring into a really well done chorus. "I Live In Hope" is one of my favorites, a jazzy number with some wonderful saxophone playing, very tasteful and uplifting lyrically. "Dripping Away" has a painful history to it, an ode to Phil's father who past away due to Alzheimer's Disease. Very, very sad song, but beautifully done nonetheless.
The remainder of the album is solid, and on the whole I'd have to say Ripples From A Small Pond is just what I, personally, needed to get back in touch with the more indie and expressional side of rock music. It may not be as impacting to those who frequent this style of pop-oriented rock, but there are too many well-written and performed songs here not to give credit where it's due. Despite his hardships and difficulties in keeping a band together, it's a true shame that Phil Lewis hasn't been scooped up by a bigger label so far. With an album like this in his repetoire, it can only be a matter of time before more and more people enjoy the sound and remember the name.
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