Phil Lewis - Ancient Light

Tom Preston 18/02/2007

Rating: 4/5

Phil Lewis began serious song writing about ten years ago, but hasn't shown the consistency that is needed to get the public recognition he wanted. After a 6 year sabbatical, he recorded his first full length album “Whispering” in 2005 with producer Brook Trickett and from there he hasn't turned back, this is his second album “Ancient Light” and is certainly an improvement on an already great 1st album. Most of his songs are very good, with a few that really stand out and show the talent that Phil evidently possesses in creating music. It's sometimes difficult to see the unique side of his songs and none of them are really - to be honest -that catchy, but that shouldn't detach from the fact that examples such as “beautiful”, “Move of you” and the opening track “Is Anybody Home” are fantastic in their own right.

It doesn't take long to see why Phil has been called “Wales' finest unsigned writer” his opening song, “Is anybody home?” melodically and rhythmically it is first-class, with some soft rock guitar and mellow lyrics; the contrast brings about a firm eye opener and is one of the best songs on the album.

As you look at the track listing of the album after you've listened through it a couple of times, you begin to realise how all of his songs are enjoyable and excellent to listen to. Most of his songs produce that “feel good feeling” and give you a lift when hearing them, he doesn't produce catchy and memorable melodies, but the combination of guitar and keyboard played by The incredible string band keyboard player Lawson Dando create some really rewarding songs.

The one disappointment of the entire album really is that his lyrics seem a little repetitive, its almost as if you have heard them before, now I'm not accusing him of copying his lyrics from elsewhere, but they do seem a bit monotonous and dull in places, particularly in “Beautiful” It's quite frustrating as its blindingly obvious that the pairing of Lewis and Dando have created some near perfect songs, apart from the lyrics.

Having said that you cannot deny that Lewis has created a solid 2nd album which holds so much promise for his future in the music industry, look out for “Brand New Day” and “Beautiful” as they are brilliant, as is the edition of the almost salsa style “No accident” which breaks up the other tracks which could draw comparisons to Damien rice and Simon Webbe in places. I hope that Phil will keep this run of producing songs going because if he tweaks his lyrics slightly, I have no doubt that he will go as far as he wants to. “An engaging singer/songwriter who seems to fuse retro and contemporary” A good album which holds a lot of expectation for a writer who has the musical ability that sets him apart from others.