EP REVIEW: Phil Jones - Raise Up
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock
Winded Songs, Monotone Baritone, Marketability
Hidden deep in one of Americas most beautiful islands, Kauai’s own Phil Jones and his band release their debut 5 song EP sampler entitled “Raise Up”. Jones’s music has been described as an enlightening blend of world-infused electro-rock. Reading from his bio: his music promotes positive change, love, religious tolerance, racial equality, peace and personal evolution. Phil’s ultimate goal is to change the world into a better place, and he sees no better tool for this purpose than the power of song.
The EP gently takes to flight with soothing intro piece “Are You Aligned” a soothing intro piece that serves up driving rock rhythms against mesmerizing rhythm guitar ambience, thought proving lyrical content and psychedelic vocal accents from Jones. Track 2 “Raise Up” keep things moving with its steady rhythm, impressive ambient accents and hypnotic harmonies and vocals from Jones and company Track 3 “The Golden Race” an impressive ambient piece that slithers across your ears and flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. This piece is remarkably striking to the ears with its solid bottom end feel and pulsating bass-drum groove. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of a classic Dire Straits, Alan Parson Project and even Nick Cave. But you will also notice a few ambient, chill dub influences in there as well in the vein of Prodigy, Deep Forrest and even Moby. I would classify this music as Ambient Alternative Rock with a side of Psychedelic Surf Rock. The musicianship is pretty solid across the board as Jones and company deliver a solid 4 piece delivery. Kudos goes out to the impressive guitar licks and sizzling solos along the way. You will also notice rich layers of ambient instrumentation layered within the music full of psychedelic soundscapes. Jones’s voice is melodically consistent and is in the vein of Alan Parson, Michael Stipe (R.E.M) and Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits). From mesmerizing ”The Perfect Wave” to Track 5 “Time” this EP pretty much has something for everyone.
It’s fair to say many pieces are winded and extremely repetitive overall. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. The mix is a bit all over the place and lacks continuity track to track. Jones’s voice manages to barely keep it’s head above the water but is nothing spectacular. His baritone is relatively monotone and he elects to play it safe on all songs avoiding any serious risks that would indicate a world class vocal ability. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do affect the EP’s overall marketability.
“Raise Up” by Phil Jones is a compelling musical teaser. Its strong suit it’s amazing sonic ambience and song for song musical flow. This CD will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing ambient rock to fill their sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively. I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes and see where the journey takes you. So if you’re looking for a psychedelic musical experience with an ambient-alternative rock aftertaste then I highly recommend you take a listen to the latest 5 song EP by Phil Jones. I look forward to hearing the full length release hopefully later on this year.