Jonny Phillips is a British acoustic songwriter from Dorset, South England. Phillips recently made the decision to begin a solo career, as he is additionally the principal songwriter for Indie folk group Willowen.
The Great Train of Thought Robbery is an apt name for this four-track EP, brimming to the surface with introspective, quirky and often emotive lyrics. “This Keeps Happening” is an acoustic opener which employs elements of R&B - such as choppy, hurried instruments and crisp melodies. The highlight is Phillips’ fluctuation between a beautifully-fragile voice and deep, powerful tones nearer the end of the track.
Without much warning, “So Hard To Read” bursts forth from the EP; reggae-styled guitar and sustained organ chords blend unexpectedly well. Intriguingly-mismatched lyrics cut through this noise, as they question: “Am I here? / Am I there? / Frankly, I don’t care.” These dark, introspective thoughts are masked by Phillips’ uplifting vocal melody; ceaselessly guiding the track towards an optimistic close and promise of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Mr. Investor Man” is a tongue-in-cheek song about the music industry. The lyrics are blunt and lacking in subtlety, but that was evidently Phillips’ intent. Whilst this flavor of song can often be grating, a smooth strumming pattern coupled with a light-hearted, chirpy melody forces all the elements of the song to embrace and create a satisfyingly-fun piece.
The Great Train of Thought Robbery is a creative EP in terms of Phillips’ songwriting skills and musical delivery. I hope, in the future that he may expand on stylistic ideas tinkered with at moments on the four tracks. Phillips delves into the pond of reggae and R&B, but I hope he will strive to push even further. When it works, he brings passion and thought-provoking lyrics to even the most simple of acoustic melodies.
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