Anthony Lee Phillips is a singer/songwriter based in Seattle. His EP Between Doubles consists of thirteen songs with varying influences. His sound could be put in the indie rock category, yet it touches on styles ranging from folk to jazz. Each track has its own sound and vibe with intense descriptive lyrics and unique arrangements.
The album started with “Bluejay” which was a surprisingly pretty, soft melodic track with a similar aura to The Beatles “Blackbird.” Phillips’ voice is gentle yet dimensional and weaves and dips in the same way as the intricate melodies of his guitar. The song was poetic and artistic and I enjoyed it immensely.
The next track “Mr. Blithe” went in a completely different direction. It had more of an indie vibe with a cool stylistic quality that reminded me of Violent Femmes mixed with Ben Folds Five with the lyrical quality of Deathcab for Cutie. I loved the key and tempo that changed as well as the funky bass solo. “Morning Breaks” had the same hip vibe with more of a jazzy style. The amount of lyrics Phillips squeezes into a verse without sounding excessive is impressive.
“What’s Coming to You” was upbeat with a darker, almost sinister vibe. Phillips’ vocal range is showcased in this track and there’s no denying the talent in his voice. I also liked the rock guitar and overall aggressive vibe. “Fade” had more of a pop feel and reminded me of Jason Miraz with its clever lyrics and swaying beat. The lyrics “just apples with the worms in, half eaten from our thin skins” were fun and original. The following song “Reasons” was slower with more acoustic guitar. “Rock on, Little Danger” was probably my least favorite track on the album. The lyrics came off as too much and the choir at the end was loud and didn’t blend well with the instrumental backing; it just sounded off. The intent was there, but it just felt like it missed the mark. The following song “Lonewolf” left a similar taste in my mouth but Phillips redeemed himself (for me anyway) with “Strawberry Muse” which was poetic without being showy.
“Colors” had a unique arrangement with intricate melodies. It’s this very thing, though, that I think can come off as a little too much in some of the tracks. It sometimes crosses the line from being accessible to confusing; bordering on pretentious. But the complexity still remains impressive. “Watercolor Halo” brightened my attitude quite a bit.
I enjoyed the upbeat sound and horns mixed with the emotional lyrics. “Wax & Wane” had a cool rock eclectic feel, although it came off as a little odd. For me, the final track “Can’t Get Enough” was a breakthrough. It felt intimate and raw. The facade that I felt from some of the previous tracks was gone, and the song came through as real and honest. The lyrics were clear yet poetic without feeling showy and the accompaniment was complementing without being distracting. It was a perfect ending track.
Between Doubles is an impressive EP. Phillips has a knack for songwriting and his arrangements are in a class of their own. Although a few songs missed the mark a bit for me, I’m still able to recognize the immense talent he possesses. When his authenticity shines through, it really is something special. I’m excited to see the evolution of his sound and will keep my eye on this one for sure.
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