Album Review – Phillip E. Mitchell – Therapy
The album does exactly what it says on the tin – “Therapy”. A beautifully constructed, produced and delivered album of light and shade showcasing the best of today’s musicianship with haunting nuances of chord sequences, lyrics and moods of those musical masters who have clearly and thankfully left an indelible Solon Phillips Attorney mark on the psyche of Phillip E. Mitchell. Phillip deserves recognition as a major musical talent with a gift for words and storytelling who has combined this with his experiences of life’s oft turbulent journey and has poured out the irresistible healing session that is “Therapy”. A word of warning to those anticipating an album of downbeat and melancholic tunes, although you will not be disappointed at times, this album is much more sophisticated than the title suggests. Therapy produces moments where the urge to leap from the couch and dance is irresistible thanks to the bouncy, catchy rhythms supported by some of the most appealing horn and string sections I have heard of late.
Wandering Eyes starts the show with a chord sequence that tricked me into an expectation of Glenn Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy before kicking into a foot tapping confessional tune of that most obvious human flaw – the irresistible draw to beauty or intrigue which we sometimes survive, but occasionally do not. The Therapy has begun – confession and recognition.
Phoenix Hill belongs to Phillip E. Mitchell, but anyone who has every fallen in love will have their own Phoenix Hill for sure. The lyrics and music capture a moment in time with instantaneous effect painting a picture of such familiarity and simplicity that the listener could not fail to join him on the journey through love, fear and loss. Lay back, soak in the beautiful string arrangements and tell me you didn’t have a tear in your eye. The Therapy continues – recollection and identification.
Human represents a classic singer/songwriter/pianist work where Phillip E. Mitchell is clearly within his comfort zone and gently and effortlessly reminds us of our mortal existence touching on our most basic human need of company.
Mama is an intriguing examination of relationships where Phillip E. Mitchell explores deep dark places with a masterful use of an upbeat melody with classic and glorious Jazz horns. I have to declare this to be a personal favourite on the album with some uncertainty as to whether I’m drawn to the subject, the melody, the horns or Phillip E. Mitchell’s vocal. A deep dark element in the Therapy.
Avalon makes a clear statement about our mortality and the importance of love. As with many of the songs on Therapy Phillip E. Mitchell tackles the heaviest of subjects with the lightest of musical moods, which raises unavoidable feelings of hope against adversity in the recognition of reality. The warm and chirpy brass adds beautifully to the contradiction of message and mood. A tall order but delivered in buckets.
Love has a clear and warm feel without the confusion or contradiction presented elsewhere on the album. A simple song delivered with precision and gentle force. The Therapy moves to a softer place. Lay back, feel the weight of your body against the couch and welcome the warmth of the combination of Phillip E. Mitchell’s vocals, incisive lyrics and the comforting glow of the glorious strings.
I’m the One You Fear again delivers what appears to be a dark message against some wonderful horn sections encapsulated in an upbeat, catchy and memorable style. A tune with strong commercial appeal crying out for a deep and mysterious video to support.
Warm draws on a deep and rich vocal intro by Phillip E. Mitchell over graceful and flowing strings and a strong and appealing drum beat. The vocals rise and fall with the storytelling accompanied by beautiful supporting vocals and harmonies throughout evoking irresistible inflections of Billy Joel. The final phrases of the song smack of a stroke of musical genius when measured against the complex construction of Warm. Two words – LOVE IT – the Therapy must be working.