Album review: Jodi Phillis | Becoming

Jodi Phillis is perhaps best known for her tenure co-fronting melodic Sydney indie rock starlets, Clouds. Burning brightly in the 90’s alongside acts such as Ratcat, The Falling Joys and The Hummingbirds as part of the rise of alternative music to a more mainstream consciousness, since their heyday Phillis has cut a distinguished, albeit low key solo career under her own name, impressively clocking up her fifth album in the form of ‘Becoming’.

Those more familiar with the spiky, spunky stylings of Clouds may take awhile to adjust to the more restrained, introspective and broad ranging tendencies that play out across the eleven songs that make up Phillis’ latest offering. Produced by longtime partner Tim Oxley, ‘Becoming’ is very much an exercise in classic songwriting and personal reflection, with its template of acoustic folk-pop fleshed out with tastefully adorned washes of keys and strings. Best not to peg these songs before letting them unfurl their full charms, of which there are plenty.

Opening number, ‘Visions Of You’ commences with the call of a lonesome trumpet, before morphing into a twinkling, chamber pop delight, channeling moods lovelorn and dreamy. Phillis’s not so secret weapon has always been her voice, and throughout the album it presents itself in a range of guises, from naked and unadorned through to flourishes of multi-layered sweetness. This is perfectly encapsulated in the pretty acoustic balladry of ‘Mamma Told Me A Secret’, a heartfelt ode to her mother which dissolves into a ghostly 60’s girl group apparition as it fades out of sight but not out of mind..a multi-faceted triumph.

‘Truth And The Way’ channels bright and breezy 70’s am radio with a dash of country, while ‘The Change’ is stately and soulful, with washes of keyboard and shimmering, reverb drenched guitar to go with Phillis’ angelic vocals, bringing a hint of Mazzy Star. And ‘Gotta Feel Alright’ delivers a slow, sultry, funk-soul vibe as Phillis gets her groove on. While final number, ‘Hudson Dreaming’ is a plaintive hymn of love and devotion set to delicate, stripped back folk, her voice a sweetly lilting delight as the lights dim.

Off the strength of this gorgeous, heartfelt release, Jodi Phillis should be winning herself a whole new set of disciples while simultaneously reaffirming her worth within the hearts and minds of long times fans.

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