Ladies' Love Oracle is an intimate, candle-lit coming-out party for Grant Lee Phillips, who continues to prove himself as one of the finest songwriters of the last 20 years. Recorded over a three-day span during October 1999 in Jon Brion's basement studio, the brief, nine-song collection is a one-man show in the raw. As stated by the man himself, "Sometimes a sketch says more than a mural." Indeed -- there's an even greater sense of immediacy and warmth here than in the work of his prior band. Though the chiefly acoustic guitar-based record is skeletal in nature when compared to Grant Lee Buffalo's studio work, some of these pearls are lushly draped with harmonica, piano, and other refinements without ever sounding extraneous. Here, Phillips joins the gilded ranks of Bob Mould, Mark Eitzel, and Kristin Hersh -- songwriters who have flourished alone in the wakes of their respective bands. If Grant Lee Buffalo's best work is like admiring a vast flower garden from afar, Phillips' first solo release is akin to picking a rose from that garden, putting your nose to it and admiring the folds of the petals. Lovely.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman