Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon


RIYL: Grant Lee Buffalo, Robyn Hitchcock, Eels

Grant-Lee Phillips flirted with commercial relevancy during his years fronting the critically beloved Grant Lee Buffalo, but his solo records haven’t reached as many ears – which is a damn shame, because they’ve contained some of his strongest work. His sixth solo effort, Little Moon, follows precedent, collecting a dozen songs that run the gamut from spare ballads (“Violet,” “Buried Treasure”) to more up-tempo, finely layered numbers (“Strangest Thing,” “Seal It with a Kiss,” “It Ain’t the Same Old Cold War Harry”). Tying them all together is Phillips’ voice, which remains an instrument of uncommon warmth and strength, as well as the empathetic, tight-knit playing of a small combo that included drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Paul Bryan (who also produced), and keyboardist Jamie Edwards. The bulk of the album was recorded live in the studio over a single four-day span, a refreshingly simple approach that lets the arrangements breathe and keeps the focus where it belongs – on the songs. It’s a bright little gem of an album, one whose flaws somehow add to its beauty. If you’re in the mood for an album of smart, subtle pop/rock for adults, look no further. And spread the word – his days as a major label star-in-the-making are long behind him, but Phillips’ Moon deserves an audience many times its size. (Yep Roc 2009)

Grant-Lee Phillips MySpace page

  

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