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Glen Phillips
Mr. Lemons
Big Helium Entertainment

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 miss it).

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 record.

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 music… especially in these times where "country" doesn't fill the space.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
01 Everything But You
02 Blindsight
03 Thank You
04 I Still Love You
05 Last Sunset
06 I Want A New Drug
07. Marigolds
08. Waiting
09. Didn't Think You Cared
10. The Next Day
11. A Joyful Noise

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