Phil James - This Way Up!

Tuesday 1st May 2001
Phil James - This Way Up!

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Stuart Blackburn

I hope that Phil James won't resent the comparison with Martyn Joseph. They both reside in South Wales, use the same backing band, play technically excellent acoustic guitar and write strongly melodic songs about things that matter. This is a beautifully flavoursome album. It is overly wordy at times though at others strikingly adept at simplicity without sounding twee. The arrangements and instrumentation are not innovative but they are perfectly measured: the occasional vocal harmonies are heavenly; Hammond organ and accordion are marvellously understated; and drums are used only when absolutely necessary. CCM anoraks can also gain extra points for spotting the echoes of my favourite Malcolm And Alwyn track. Fans of acoustic troubadours will not be disappointed.

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