Zach Phillips: How To Slip Away (OSR Tapes, 2017)

September 9, 2017 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Zach Phillips: How To Slip Away

OSR Tapes lives! Well, sort of. It’s gone through a stint as a mail order-only label, and retired as of last year, but it still has a Bandcamp with free downloads of much of the back catalog, and there’s plans to relaunch in 2018, but “less as a label than a lab”. In the meantime, Zach Phillips has released this album, on which he wrote all the songs and played guitar and bass, but turned vocals and instruments over to a different guest for all 20 songs. The songs all seem pretty simple, but they’re generally a bit nervy and not quite straightforward, not really sticking to a proper song structure. They generally seem to just let out thoughts, not quite in a straight line, and not arranged into pop hooks. They just sort of come out as slightly strange miniatures, playing out as a song cycle of sorts. Sean Schuster-Craig (Jib Kidder) shows up for the sharp, surrealist “Fucking Up”, and other guests include Ryan Power, Sarah Smith (Blanche Blanche Blanche), Quentin Moore (Big French), and Chris Cohen, who contributes the final word and solo. Also, there’s a narrator (Colin White) who introduces and back announces songs as if this were a radio show, sometimes giving bits of commentary as to the current status of the featured performers. Sometimes he makes mention of the recording quality, wishing the vocals were mixed higher. There’s also some lo-fi tape smudge here and there. An artist as restlessly creative as Phillips can never slip away for too long, so stay tuned for what 2018 brings.

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