Phil Cody's Big Slow Mover is full of gritty folk-rock/pop that is charged through with melodic smarts. Cody was still on his major label when he recorded this effort, with co-producers Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams) and the Wallflowers' Rami Jaffee at the helm, and guest appearances by such notables as Joe Henry and Emmylou Harris. (The latter on a less-than-inspired version of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You.") But after some label reconfiguring, Cody was dropped and ended up self-releasing this album -- and it's to the listener's credit that he did. Cody is a top-notch, tuneful songwriter with a distinctive set of pipes that land him somewhere between Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan (and that warrant comparison to those of Vic Chesnutt). What pulls him ahead of the singer/songwriter pack, however, is his aforementioned melodic sensibility. The gleeful "Joyride" succeeds on the back of bouncy, crunchy guitars; Cody's raw vocals; and a delightful pop hook. The title track is a downtrodden beauty that sweeps the listener up in its gentle guitar twangs and welling harmonies, while "City of Destruction" is a cruising, euphoric roots-rocker.
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AllMusic Review by Erik Hage