The Village – Ghosts In The Static: Album Review

Phil Matthews, aka The Village, takes us on a trip down Memory Lane on his new album.

Release date: 7th May 2021

Label: Bandcamp

Format: DL

The fifth solo album from the Psychedelic Troubadour. One that finds him celebrating life in black and white when a touch of reminiscing over warmer and happier times can’t do any harm. No wonder he kick starts his latest offering with a touch of Isolation Blues. A very familiar theme over the past twelve months but, lest we forget, we appreciate the reminder.

For some of us the more mature team members at ATB, we can appreciate the sentiment taken up by the album theme. The image of the penny-farthing will have those TV aficionados of us in the know declaring they aren’t a number…we are free men. Emerging as the title suggests, like Ghosts In The Static, ten songs allow us the indulgence of wallowing in some lo-fi spit and polish on some little irreverent gems, encrusted with a bluesy coating. All written, recorded and produced by one man band Phil Matthews.

The title track is a nostalgic look back (“when I was younger, I used to wonder.where did all those people go?“) as he muses over the age-old question from our childhoods, of what happens to the people when the TV goes off… He can’t be the only one who’s thought of releasing the ghosts from the TV when the lights are off. David Jacobs, Percy Thrower, Archie Andrews and Muffin The Mule, just a few names amongst many who get namechecked which will induce that warm glow.

Shuffling through Tomorrow Loves You More Than Yesterday hints at an outlook that bears the ‘glass half full’ brand of optimism. A longing for simpler times that comes with the likes of Lone Horseman Cam Calling – a brilliant little tongue-in-cheek cowboy/highwayman blues in the finest sense. A soundtrack taken straight from the crossroads.

By the time we encounter Friction In Fiction, there’s a thought that we could be listening to some of the musings of Chairman Morrissey, even with a vaguely Smiths soundtrack – one crossed with the constant recurring thought of the theme tune to The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole. And while Green Glove Cigarettes (a new product on me…) could well be a Lennon outtake from The White Album, Phil takes time to throw in a dig at what is presumable contemporary America.

Any album with a song that namechecks Rossendale (in fact the final word on the album) is enough to pique the interest. Ignore that ‘Psychedelic’ tag; The Village is much more down to earth.

Have a listen to Isolation Blues:

The Village online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud

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