Shawn Phillip’s 1972 album ‘Faces’ sees itself being generously re-released on Talking Elephant Records, featuring the original album as well as a bonus track at the end to tide over fans. ‘Faces’ saw Phillips offering up arguably one of his most ambitious albums in his career, featuring a variety of different ideas and techniques as well as the odd experimental notion here and there, showcasing a great amount of creativity. Much of the album seems to have its roots firmly implanted in the folk music genre, though Phillips hardly restricts himself to the genre’s formats, allowing his creativity to take itself wherever it may please.
‘Faces’ offers up a very diverse range of different styles, resulting in an album that retains the listener’s attention as they’re guided through an enjoyable and fun album experience. Phillips’ style is rather relaxed for the most part, giving his music energy and a little bounce. There’s a wonderful variety of styles and genres being presented on the album, all of which come together in a cohesive manner, giving the album a strong structure as it journey’s through its varied tracks. It’s a strong album for the most part, and one that demonstrates Phillip’s talents at some of their strongest.
Whilst there’s a lot to enjoy on ‘Faces’, the album for the most part seems to indulge itself a little too much without offering something back in return. There’s sometimes an element of tracks dragging on a little too much, and whilst they demonstrate strong notions, it creates this somewhat un-enjoyable element as we start to wish that the music could just get a move on. Phillip’s demonstrates some great talent on ‘Faces’, but it sometimes feels like it hasn’t been focused clearly enough, and that certain elements are present on the album for the sake of it, rather than for the benefit of the album itself.
In some senses, ‘Faces’ is a little bit of a mixed-bag in terms of an album experience. There’s a lot on offer here, and much of it is incredibly enjoyable, though other sections seem to add very little to the album itself and affect the overall impact of the album itself. Even with its negative traits, there’s still many strengths to ‘Faces’, which still remains one of the strongest and more enjoyable releases by Phillips, and one we can certainly be happy with to see Talking Elephant Records re-releasing as part of their catalogue.
- ★★★☆☆ 3/5
- Hey Miss Lonely
- Parisian Flight II
- A Christmas Song
Shawn Phillips’ 1972 album ‘Faces’ is now available through Talking Elephant Records.