Label : Decca/Universal
Review by Luisa Mercier
One hour ago the postman rang my doorbell, finally laying in my hands one of the most awaited 2013 releases, Phildel‘s debut “ The Disappearance of The Girl”. Here I am, writing while I listen to it, so my impression of it is just fresh. First of all, let me say that in the last weeks my admiration for this girl has grown even more for several reasons. I share with her the same taste for simple, but elegant and refined things so I totally found myself in her visuals, in her music, in her outfits, in her love for imagination and dreams. It happened with a handful of musicians, the ones that marked me the most starting with Evanescence (back in the prehistoric age of my first approaches to music), Nightwish, Epica, more recently with Sleepthief and Delta Rae.
She really has something special in her and I think it also stems from her personal story that I will not tell here because I want you to focus on the music. If you want, look for it and you will understand how she turned a traumatic experience into beautiful art. Yes, I am talking of art here, as I would have talked of a painting or a sculpture because her music, videos, promo shots are complementary to each other creating her dreamy and classy world. The album offers a great variety and it is the living proof of the musical versatility of this musical miracle. The title-track opens the album and it is an ethereal, orchestral piece that will embrace you in an underwater atmosphere, well portrayed by the matching video. As I have already mentioned in the previous review of the “Phildel EP”, each song has a dedicated video that tries to convey the message of the track, through effective symbolism.“Storm Song” follows and, after two months, I am still entranced by the initial humming, the pulsating beat, the orchestral pathos, the strings…
“Mistakes” is a little bit different, it has an ironic feeling and it is slightly danceable. Actually it is one of my favourite (all are my favourite if I have to be honest). Beautiful “Moonsea” has an exquisite retro mood and it is very, very feminine just like Phildel is. I absolutely loved the video, all built on hinted meanings, shadows and shapes and different shades of violet. Pure genius. “Beside You” was already included in the previous EP, and it is a sweet piano ballad where her vocals shine. “Union Stone” is a quiet piece, relaxing and full of harmony. Quoting Phildel: “this song is inspired by a very humble and true love” . What I liked the most about “Afraid of The Dark” is the amazing, epic orchestral arrangement that perfectly fits my taste for symphonic music and I could also relate to the concept behind the song. It is meant “ for those of you who have experienced the darkness of love”.
Hauntingly dark, a bit evil is “The Wolf”. I challenge you not to be captured by its pace, its heavyness (even if there are no guitars).
“Switchblade” is a melancholig ballad with a magnificent vocal performance of Phildel in the ending part of the song, soaring with the orchestra. In the same vein of “The Wolf”, is “Holes in Your Coffin”. It is dark, but it has a playful tone, a hint of irony that reminded me of Emilie Autumn and Fiona Apple, two artists I deeply admire for their witty lyrics. A simple, yet elegant video reveals the nature of the delicate “Dare”, a piano piece that dances between quietness and a slight nostalgia and feeling of longing.
Last track is “Funeral Bell” that reminded me of American gospel music, especially in the background choirs. I might be wrong, but the song has a sacred atmosphere, like being in a church. Sadly the record is now finished and I am so impressed. This is art made music, a true sensorial experience that will please your ears and your eyes.
Rating – 90/100
- The Disappearance of The Girl
- Storm Song
- Beside You
- Union Stone
- Afraid of The Dark
- The Wolf
- Holes in Your Coffin
- Funeral Bell
- Phildel – Vocals & Arrangements
- Chris Young – Acoustic guitar, glockenspiel & Korg synth
- Rachel Steadman – Violin & Viola
- Jess Cox – Cello
- Adam Morris – Drums & Orchestral Percussion