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CD Reviews:  Glen Phillips: Abulum

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As a big fan of Glen's former band, Toad the Wet Sprocket, I surprised myself by not picking this one up when it was released, but instead two years later. Since I hadn't heard anything on the radio I was skeptical, but with the state of pop radio today that shouldn't have mattered. No, something inside told me this was going to disappoint me. And the "something" was right. Most of Toad's material was becoming more and more polished before the band split up a few years back, and in my opinion was becoming something really special. When I popped this one in, all I could think was that Todd Nichols must have contributed the bulk of the brilliant songwriting in Toad…either that, or this was just a big departure.

The opening track, "Careless," sounds very stripped down, just Phillips' voice, guitars and some loops. It shuffles kind of aimlessly before getting to "Men Just Leave," an alt-country sounding track that has the catchiest chorus on the whole record. "Back on My Feet" just plain sounds like dude is in pain, but honestly pains me more. "My Own Town" just takes forever to get moving…I'm used to those BIG choruses from Toad, I guess. "It Takes Time" has some eerie keyboard in the chorus, which makes it interesting but still something's missing. "Darkest Hour" is dark yet melodic, and forgive me for the Toad comparisons, but this one comes the closest to recapturing their vibe. "Train Wreck" is another track that just plods along like it's in slow motion…sometimes that's good, but here it's lacking the soul of vintage Phillips.

Okay, by now I think I know what is missing from this record, and it's Nichols. The two songwriters created magic together and this diversion for Phillips just doesn't measure up. Phillips does have a great voice though, and one that's instantly recognizable. On its own it might have been half a star better, but not when the benchmark is Toad the Wet Sprocket.

~Mike Farley : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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