Glen Phillips is best known in most circles for his time as
frontman for the 90's alt/college rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket.
What most people don't know is that he has had a string of solo records
since disbanding Toad, all of which continue to feature the same deep
songwriting and intimate lyrics that he became associated with. Well,
2006 finds not only the latest Glen Phillips solo record, but also
a Toad reunion tour (check your local listings, and be sure not to
Mr. Lemons is filled with the same quality of songs that have
made Phillips so ravenously followed by his smallish fan base. "Everything
But You" is the sort of tune that has made Phillips so well liked
- a softly lilting rock tune with an infectious melody line and delicate
guitar parts. Amidst all the musical beauty is found the kind of lyric
that breathes poetry, while being so eloquently grounded in real life.
"Take me dancing, pale and knock-kneed/ Spin me through the crowd
and drop me/ Dizzy in the middle of the floor/ Oh my god you terrify
me/ Oblivious you breeze right by me/ Spilling wine and melting ice
cream/ Random, warm and mesmerizing." This record becomes quite
a bit slower and radiantly melancholy than much of Phillips' work,
as evidenced on the tranquil downbeat of "Blindsight". "Thank
You" is a sonic tune, remarkably well filled-out instrumentally
while maintaining a sparse niceness that highlights the excellent
lyrics and fine melody/harmony lines. Glen breaks out a bit of weird
sideways jazz on his remake of the Huey Lewis classic "I
Want A New Drug"
weird, but forgiven.
After the somber and beautiful "Marigolds", Mr. Lemons
holds the intricate subtlety of "Waiting". This track sounds
like it could have been an outtake from the Mutual Admiration Society
record, filled with mandolins and pedal steel guitars - as close as
Phillips has ever come to a true country song, but as pure as any
lyric he's ever written. It is truly a work of loveliness. The album
wraps with an ambient low track called "A Joyful Noise"
that recalls the sparseness and delicacy of certain Peter Gabriel
tracks, but holds more vocal power than at any other point on the
Whether you're a fan of Toad The Wet Sprocket or have been following
the developing career of Glen himself, Mr. Lemons is an essential
piece of the musical journey
one that I hope doesn't have an
end any time soon. The world needs this kind of sorrowful, beautiful
especially in these times where "country" doesn't
fill the space.
01 Everything But You
03 Thank You
04 I Still Love You
05 Last Sunset
06 I Want A New Drug
09. Didn't Think You Cared
10. The Next Day
11. A Joyful Noise
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