CD Label: Blaris Trax
From the first listen of Phil Walton's album Reason To Live I realized it would be difficult to nail down what his sound was, or even more difficult, how to explain it. I do love his voice, it is so natural, and very refined, and very British I might add. He is not trying to sound American or like anyone else but himself. Well, we are off to good start as I sincerely appreciate an artist just letting loose and being nothing more than the real deal.
While this may not be music for everyone it most certainly has an audience, yours truly being one that appreciates this type of sound and variety on a recording. Phil takes a lifetime of listening experiences and influences, takes it all, and wraps it into his own package for us all to open up and see what may be inside. That is the very reason why it so difficult to quantify what the sound is, and to me that aspect is a wonderful thing. Having the problem of trying to classify music, means that it is unlike anything else I have heard. To be set off in a corner inside a box in the indie world is certain suicide; Walton does everything right with his presentation on this CD. I cannot get away from the fact that his voice is the key here; it is haunting, resonating, and emotional, bringing all the lyrics to the forefront of your experience. Walton makes it real for you and he does it in such a way that it is hard to forget. I am willing to bet if you hear this CD for the first time you will begin to think how different it is yet appealing, something that could continually grow on you, that is how it worked for me.
There are some great tunes on this album, featuring delicate, and perfectly placed guitar lines, a stirring rhythm section, and an organ that sounds like it could burst wide open at any minute. Phil is the only musician on the entire recording; in fact, when I asked for the band lineup he replied that he created most of it right at his computer, brilliant! This has become an art form currently and if you can be that convincing, that you went into a studio with a band and recorded an album when you actually used your talent and imagination on a computer to create it, well, that is incredible. I must say it sounds quite good when considering that factor. He holds back on the power of the organ just enough to allow each song to sink in without the distraction of an instrument that is too prevalent, which could destroy the meaning and intent of the lyrical content. The organ is the most prolific of the instruments on several tracks, everything else is very important but it all takes a back seat, only Walton's vocals can rise above it. Walton sings about relationships and sometimes gets his digs in with the opposite sex, expressing his displeasure with the pain and suffering one can go through when involved in a head-over-heels love. "All Of Me," "Don't Be Coming Back," and "Reason To Live" illustrate all of this vividly for the listener intent on understanding what the songs really mean.
Those that enjoy progressive rock or art rock will find plenty of enjoyment and the opportunity to do a little reflection in the mirror of life with this music. This could be a good thing for some of us... I guess you have to listen and find out for yourself. I would not listen to this if you were recovering from a broken relationship though. Well, just enjoy the music!