Review: Jack Foley
PETRA Jean Phillipson is hitherto best known as the female vocalist
on David Holmes' psychedelic punk-funk ensemble, The
Free Association, but here she branches out into solo territory.
Notes on Love is, by her own admission, a raw, bluesy,
confrontational approach to songwriting that was recorded last
year in London's Mayfair Studios with the help of friend and former
Verve guitarist, Si Tong.
It's bewitching style is sure to draw comparisons with both PJ
Harvey and Billie Holiday and the album sometimes becomes a little
too dark for its own good.
But there are several tracks to savour, not least in her exquisite
cover version of Nick Cave's Into My Arms, which features
her vocals at their most sultry and Tong's guitar at its most
The beguiling whistle that accompanies the chorus is a completely
relaxing bonus that effortlessly compliments Phillipson's husky
Strong, too, is the melancholic Play Play, an atmospheric
slow-builder that reaches several highs.
The shuffling snare drums and bittersweet melodies of One
Day unfold like a beautiful daydream that are bound to conjure
favourable comparisons with some of Emiliana Torrini's recent
While the rawer sound of Independent Woman displays
Phillipson at her most bluesy, as though she may just have sauntered
out of the Deep South.
The jagged guitars and blues-ridden riffs merely add to the impressive
vibe surrounding the track - especially late on, as Phillipson's
voice really strectches itself.
Elsewhere, the album provides a diverting, if not especially
original listen that occasionally has you yearning for a Holmes'
style piece of funk to liven things up.
Yet Phillipson sticks to her guns and purrs her way to the final
track, Cradle of Your Smile.
The result, while not always successful, marks Phillipson out
as another strong vocal performer whose solo work is sure to find
a marketplace of its own.