T.K. Webb's first release, KCK, was pleasantly ramshackle, as worn as the backseat of a rusty Buick, and it served as a good introduction to Webb's signature suitcase-stomping style of bluesy, folky rock. It might have been too much to hope for the same threadbare production values on his 2006 release, Phantom Parade, but the resulting album doesn't necessarily suffer as a result. The sound has been cleaned up and the suitcase-stomping shambles have been ironed out, but the songs themselves are still good and gritty even if they have lost a little of that worn-in feel that, in part, made KCK such a pleasure. Webb himself, with his ancient voice and lumbering guitar, is ultimately what makes this album compelling. As such, the best songs on the album are those that don't try to clean him up. "Wet Eye'd Morn," in particular, is a treat insofar as the focus is almost entirely on Webb's voice. Just as he did on his previous album, Webb draws his influences from a roster of guitar-slinging wanderers with messy hair. There's a little Neil Young in these songs, some Dylan, and a healthy dose of Leadbelly. As a whole, Phantom Parade is a more focused album; the songs are more muscular than Webb's previous work. Fans of his previous rust bucket, dirt-under-the-fingernails songs shouldn't be misled by the clean feel of this album, as after a few listens it's clear that he hasn't stopped writing good songs about sad people.
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AllMusic Review by Margaret Reges