Jodi Phillis

Lounge o Sound

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After spending previous albums and years in the Dearhunters, this Australian singer eases her way into her debut record sweetly without sugarcoating the music or lyrics. "Long Grain" is a pleasant and uplifting instrumental with some nimble guitar work and complementary harmonies by Phillis that make the song work very well. Another intriguing instrumental is "A Few Moments With Greg," oddly resembling a Ry Cooder-scored soundtrack. She utilizes her vocals brilliantly for the better part of the album on songs such as "A Prayer," although there are some lulls early on, particularly the off-kilter tempo and arrangements of "Ghost Waltz," a song that ends as soon as it finds its groove. One characteristic of the album is how daring Phillis is in her arrangements, willing to experiment sonically with blips, layers, and keyboards on the aptly titled "Galactica." But her assets lie in telling a simple story with some simple strumming of an acoustic guitar during "My Own Arms," while an elaborate percussion demonstration plays itself out behind her. Possessing a voice that never tires on the ears, Phillis creates a solidly good if not overly spectacular body of work here.