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- We Sunk The Ship To Get Rid Of The Rats by Phil Tyler
2 reviews. Add your own review.
The first question is “Where’s Cath, Phil?” Tyler is most widely known for his collaborations with wife Cath and as I found out recently is the same ‘Phil’ I used to see knocking about Newcastle back in the day when we were all in awe to the vagaries of shoegaze. Phil has changed musical styles somewhat since then and is now a very respected banjo man. Here he goes out on his own but not without the help of Sarah Hill who contributes vocals on a few tracks.
The banjo is recorded with just the right amount of natural room reverb giving a very intimate performance and you can imagine Phil, sat in some backstreet boozer somewhere in the North East, playing away to the distant clink of dominoes and pints being pulled. I’m not sure what it is with Newcastle at the moment but there seems to be a nautical air to a lot of the music that is coming out of there at the moment. It is near the sea I suppose and just a short hop on the metro takes you to Tynemouth and its more gritty harbour cousin North Shields so possibly this is rubbing off on a lot of the musicians - this album reeks of the sea.
The nearest comparison I suppose is a North Eastern take on Black Twig Pickers, the songs seem to be perfectly fine comprising only of solo banjo, vocals appear on just the three tracks although ‘A Day After Yesterday’ introduces acoustic guitar which gives the track a more homely and less windswept feel. Made up mainly of Phil’s own compositions but with a few traditional tunes in evidence, the record has a lovely drifty feel to it which you can lose yourself and be transported to the beautifully bleak North Eastern coastline.
8/10 Steven Customer review, 2nd July 2013
I first heard Phil Tyler on his excellent Dumb Supper album together with his wife Cath a few years back on MIE, a record of reinterpretations of several traditional folk songs played in such authentic and excellent way that it was hard not fall for it right away. I still love listening to that one every now and again and this new CDr is a pleasent surprise.
Tor Press is just about the perfect home for this release, too: Brilliant sleeve artwork by Jake Blanchard in a hand numbered edition of 200 screen printed gatefold covers puts Phil’s sounds in a lovely surrounding. The essence, however, are 18 songs with the focus on very skilled banjo playing, mostly instrumental, some with vocals by Sarah Hill, few others with vocals by Phil himself; all of them very comforting, very charming and one of the best things I recently listened to while standing in a crowded tube on the way to work.
These songs just make everything around me seem like it was built from LEGO. It may not be the most varied music you ever heard but you will enjoy this in case you like listening to Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers, WAND or the aforementioned record by Cath & Phil Tyler. Those who are familiar with Tor Press will know the deal anyway, and this is no exception: Beautiful music, beautiful artwork, beautiful prices. I’m going to listen to this one again on my commute home.
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