Thursday, 1 August 2013

Review: Phaeleh - Tides

To kick off our album review series, Phaeleh's album "Tides" is going to be the first. Phaeleh has always delivered in terms of quality, but has "Tides" set the benchmark? As an artist there is a clear sign that he is progressively exploring new avenues and constantly expanding his musical reach with diverse and eclectic sounds.

Journey: As the first track on the album, I was quite surprised. I thought it would be an ambient piece that would set the tone for the album. The immediate sudden violins and pre 2010 Dubstep drum pattern was not how I expected the album to kick off but I'm not disappointed. The first thing that surprised me was the subtle tabla (I think) which made me think back to his older tracks like "Rise Featuring Indi Kaur". A very strong start. 9/10

Here Comes The Sun Feat. Soundmouse: Now I've not been much of a fan of Soundmouse, her voice is strong and at points over bearing. I feel there was a bit of a disconnection between the build and the main segment of the track. Listening to the track a few more times, nothing has really gripped me and those cheesy overly disposable lyrics didn't do much to help my opinion. 5/10

Storm Feat. Jess Mills: The sinister and seductive voice of Jess Mills on the introduction instantly grabbed me. The Island Records vocalist blesses the track with some deep lyrics which interlock with the darker vibe of the record. The drum pattern rolls nicely with a slight shuffle which gives the whole track an ever building feel. The lyrics, yet again, are relatively cheesy but they could have been a lot worse. 7/10

Tokoi: Tokoi instantly stood out with a sudden change in BPM from the previous three tracks and an entirely 'feel good' atmosphere. The soft drum licks every now and again help the new melodies connect along with the atmospheric vocals which makes this record an instant favourite. 10/10

Whistling In The Dark Feat. Augustus Ghost: I have always been a big fan of Augustus Ghost with her mature and soft voice. I'm seeing a similar drum pattern in the layout of the more 140BPM orientated tracks which I don't have any complaints about but could find listeners finding repetitive. It also seems that most the lyrics for these vocal tracks are a bit nonsensical and cheesy. 7/10

Tides: Having to listen to this about six times due to it being so short but sometimes the shortest songs are the best ones. The piano melody is captivating and this song in terms of composition, production and melody stands alone. I see why Phaeleh named the album after this. 10/10

Never Fade Away: I'm an absolute sucker for that "warm crackly" sound that imitates that of an old vinyl with a clear digital sound on top. It's nice to see Phaeleh venturing up into the higher BPM's with odd kick patterns, although this track doesn't do any justice to the potential it could have been. The softer percussion can sometimes draw away from the main melodies with an overbearing snare in points. 6/10

Night Lights Feat. Cian Finn: From a production point of view "Night Lights" is one of my favourites with varying snares and that dub influenced warm sub bass melody. It's refreshing to hear Cian's vocals which compliment the entire nature of the song. I felt it was a few minutes too short and the ending was quite abrupt, but that just made me pull it back and listen to it again. 8/10

A Different Time: Similar to "Tides" although with use of some really nicely padded strings. If I'm not mistaken there is some reverse vocal business going on which assists with the two main structural builds. A well produced sound exploration and a brilliant atmospheric piece. 9/10

So Far Away:  I was looking for that "In The Twilight" track and this is it. A well produced build up with strings, rolling percussion, female vocals and splashes of cymbals. There isn't much else to say about this track other than it's an incredible penultimate track.  10/10

Distraction: Bringing the tempo right down with those soft accordion sounding melodies and if I'm not mistaken, I'm sure I heard a spray paint can rattle being sampled. When the entire track comes together after a lengthy two minutes, the clinical drums, soft atmospheric build and weighty sub bass beautifully conclude an incredible album. 8/10

Overall: 8.1/10

After "Cold In You", I didn't know how Phaeleh would top it but this album is an incredible series of music. Although there were a few tracks that let the album down with cheesy vocals or dismissive melodies, the vast majority of this album is timeless and a true testament to the versatility of modern Electronic Dance Music. Not only is the music a notch above, the entire artistic package of the vinyl and CD combination is something anyone would be proud to own. For now, I'm going to go and listen to "Tides" on loop.

Purchase from Redeye / Chemical 

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