Glen Phillips

Secrets of the New Explorers

by Thomas Hauner

19 May 2008

 

It’s almost as if Glen Phillips was headlining an improv comedy show and tailored his new EP to a topical suggestion shouted by the audience.  “Penis!” someone might cleverly yell, but Phillips wisely chooses “Private space travel!” for the context of his latest release, Secrets of the New Explorers.  It finds Phillips relying on his major/minor tonal contrasts to create lush harmonies and resolutions (“Return to Me”), revisiting familiar melodies (“They’ll Find Me” is similar to “All Things in Life” from Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Coil), and experimenting with electronics as textural and percussive enhancements (“The Spirit of Shackleton”).  Mostly one is lost in Phillips’ simple sonorous melodies, their restraint and cosmic content generating an epic sense of space.  Secrets’ highest praise comes from the most qualified of critics, NASA Cosmic Ray Telescope scientist Harlan Spence, who said, “I nearly died and went to heaven from its excellence and brilliance and relevance…radiation poisoning rocks.”

Secrets of the New Explorers

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