Phil Cooper – These Revelation Games: Album Review

Phil Cooper abandons his folky sound (for the moment!) for a rockier one on his brilliant new album, These Revelation Games.

Release date: October 30th 2020

Label: Infinite Hive

Format:  CD  / DL

Phil Cooper‘s reputation as an entertaining live performer is reflected on his new album which has a ‘live’ atmosphere about it. I can imagine he is hugely anticipating the opportunity to take  these poignant songs out on the road. I hope I get the chance to see that!

Although these songs are in a rockier style and a seeming departure from previous recordings, the opener, Changing Times immediately shows his intention to rock it up. There is a  slight tinge of White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army but he more than holds his own as he announces that patience is needed in these changing times.

The Horseman Rides Tonight is a quality song; to me the highlight of the album. It shows Phil’s singer-song writing and guitar expertise. The pace might be slower but the calibre is lifted sky high.

The heavy rock back rhythm increases the tempo but  the standard is maintained  in House of Mirrors showing to ‘metal-heads‘ amongst us that hard rock and melody can be perfect bedfellows.

The accompaniment is pared down considerably on the mournful I Am A Radio but blends nicely between House of Mirrors and the bouncy Into the Void. The latter may have a ‘pop’ feel but a sombre message of living and surviving the unknown and unfamiliar. The punctuating  brass adds a new colour reminiscent of the excellent use of horns used on Love’s Forever Changes.

Listening to Phil Cooper’s previous material as a solo artist, live and in group work, you can fully understand the likeness made to Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook. This is accentuated on Keep Your Hands Upon The Wheel and Over My Head. But Phil is no copyist; his own distinctive voice bemoans the strangeness of these days but we must keep in control when trying to maintain a level of normality. He definitely captures the moment for us all.

Brashness and discordance are not elements you would expect from Phil Cooper but in Tell Me Its All OK  they are used appropriately to express his frustrations and worries.  The more tuneful  A Thousand Tiny Differences explores how minimal differences affect friendships.

A jazzy sound underlined with a return of brass, shows Phil’s singing versatility with a proggy guitar mixed in to Treading Water, which aptly describes current days of turmoil.

Without  A Sound completes the many societal messages which run through the whole album. It’s a foot tapper, observing the weighty issue that we seem to be helplessly watching our normal lives crashing down around us.

Phil Cooper is rightly proud of this collection of songs. Photographer Andrew Bert Greaves may portray him as a joyful troubadour but his succinct observations of grim and gloomy times are pertinent, accurate and intelligent within highly listenable songs which we can’t wait for him to take on the road. Can I bring my own egg shaker?

Listen to House Of Mirrors below.

Phil Cooper: Official WebsiteFacebook / Twitter

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