Secrets of the New Explorers
If there’s one word to describe Glen Phillips’ music, it would definitely be eclectic; throughout his post–Toad The Wet Sprocket solo career, his musical direction has changed with each album and the Secrets of the New Explorers EP continues that trend.
An Americana sound on Abulum gave way to highly polished pop-rock on the criminally under-promoted Winter Pays For Summer and 2006’s Mr Lemons was a more stripped back affair. The experimental nature of Secrets of the New Explorers is stylistically similar to Phillips’ rarities collection, Unlucky Seven and More, and as a concept album about fantasy space travel, it certainly wins points for originality.
Luckily, no matter what sort of music Phillips produces, his songs have one common thread: melody. Whereas opener “They’ll Find Me” is something of a grower, the raucous “Space Elevator” and the superb “Solar Flare” have hooks you could hang your hat on. The electronica-influenced “The Spirit of Shackleton” is an interesting diversion with a strong chorus, while “Return To Me” and “A Dream” are just as engaging and brilliantly executed.
In fact, despite the diversity of each of the six songs on Secrets of the New Explorers, their sheer melodic and lyrical strength means you could imagine all of them working most effectively in the setting which unites all of Phillips’ contrasting styles: a true solo artist with just his voice and guitar.
Glen Phillips: www.glenphillips.com