Phil Harrington

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Voce Review

by Alex Henderson

In the liner notes that Phil Harrington wrote for Voce, the Irish singer/songwriter reveals that he was once too shy to perform in public. Obviously, that isn't a good thing if you're pursuing a career in music, but Harrington hopefully got over it. Listening to Voce, it isn't hard to picture him as an introverted sort of person--this 1996 release (which is best described as alternative pop-rock with ambient and folk influences) does not sound like the work of someone who is outgoing and extroverted. Harrington's songs are as dark and moody as they introspective, and they are also quite melodic. The singer/songwriter has a knack for haunting melodies--some of which remind the listener of David Bowie and Roxy Music. Try to picture a darker, more somber, more subdued version of Bowie or Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry, and you will have some understanding of where Harrington is coming from on much of this generally enjoyable, if slightly uneven, CD. Unlike Bowie or Roxy Music, he never rocks out in an aggressive fashion--if Voce is any indication, it is hard to imagine Harrington belting out something as extroverted as Bowie's "Hang On to Yourself" or Roxy Music's "Do the Strand." Nonetheless, Harrington's melodies do have a somewhat Bowie-ish, Ferry-ish quality at times. No one will accuse Voce of being the happiest album in the world; many of Harrington's lyrics reflect on his struggles in life, and he isn't afraid to address his own pain. In 1996, Voce fell through the cracks and received very little attention; nonetheless, this overlooked CD is worth hearing if you can find a copy.

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