Edward Phillips is singer-songwriter based out of Newark, NJ who plays psychedelic folk rock comparable to that of Kurt Vile, J Mascis and War On Drugs. His latest effort House of Natural is a complete lo-fi DIY effort that contains a surplus of well-written songs that fans of the aforementioned artists should enjoy.
There aren’t too many artists barking up the same tree as Phillips and that's why his music is easy to enjoy. That being said, I think fans of Kurt Vile in particular will see a lot of similarities not only in the way the chords were strummed but the vocal delivery.
Phillips does a good job with a basic recording setup. Everything sounded pretty good although it is immediately obvious that it wasn’t from a professional studio. There were times I thought his vocals were too distorted and that some of the songs were noticeably louder which came down to an issue of mastering.
The album kicks off with a highlight entitled “Crush.” It’s a simple guitar riff and vocal melody but it works well. The groove is easy to enjoy but there were times when the digital distortion was more than noticeable. “Is It Lonely” has an anthemic quality to it but after listening to the first songs it feels like some essential frequencies were missing. The vocal line holds the song together and is rather memorable.
Phillips continues to pound out good songs as the album progresses with “Changing All The Time” and “Reminisces.” “Watermelon Sugar” is a laid back psychedelic dream that floats away while “Make Her Want To” has some Beatles-esque qualities.
Overall, House of Natural is a very enjoyable album that is consistent in terms of quality songs. Phillips can write a tune and knows what works. The next thing for him to do would be to get the production and aesthetic quality to the next level. Phillips material with a good producer in a professional studio might be the way to go for his next release.
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