He’s one of those guys you would just love to grab a coffee with because you know that the conversation would swing from raucous to palpably sincere and introspective in the blink of an eye.
And that is how he follows his idiosyncratic muse, swinging from this way to that, taking in all the subtle nuances that make up the fabric of human relationships.
Compiled from his various bands since Weddings Parties Anything and serving as a companion to his autobiography of the same name, there is a lovely sense of continuity to this set, a constant factor being his long time sidekick Squeezebox Wally’s contributions, particularly on the sweetly melancholy All The Roads.
The beating heart of these wonderful vignettes is his ability to illuminate the quality or fault that summarises an entire story with just a delightfully succinct phrase that most others would struggle to package into less than a couple of paragraphs.
In The Red Pirate Of Boracay “She had cheekbones that would make any man immediately change his plan”, When The Last Of The Tourists Have Gone “the town felt nervous, there was no body left to sell to, to swindle or to cheat, just a multitude of mopeds moping in the street” and when he Forgot She Was Beautiful a man self-heals his ruptured heart at a chance meeting in the pub and “she was beautiful to everybody in the room but him”.
In Selling The Cool Car, which he is doing for the girl he loves, the wonderful justification he gives is that “There’s more important things in life than getting a tan on my right arm”.
These are songs about real people in real situations. Non-judgemental and with a photographer’s eye for detail, they are full of whimsy and a charming unshaven roughness.
With nary a filler in sight, this is a fabulous snapshot of one of Australia’s not so revered, but truly great songwriters.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.