Glen Phillips: Secrets of the New Explorers

By: Bill Clifford

Glen Phillips was the lead singer/songwriter for now defunct California roots rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket, whose 1991 album, Fear, established the band at the forefront of the "alternative rock" movement. Sadly, the band disbanded in '98, and Phillips retreated from the spotlight, releasing his solo music independently. Since 2001, he's put out three full-length albums and two EPs to little fanfare. It's disappointing to think of a decades worth of young music fans being unaware of his quirky and eccentric pop nuggets.

His most recent EP, the six track song cycle, Secrets of the New Explorers (Umami Music), centers on a fascination with the celestial travel. Opener "They'll Find Me" finds the protagonist on the launching pad, eager to be "closer to the visitors/ Finally back where I should be," while "Solar Flare" is a lullaby to those left behind. The funky "Space Elevator" is the most rock-centric track, with dual electric guitars, drums, bass and eerie, effects-laden backing vocals. On "The Spirit of Shackleton," the narrator associates his travels with that of the Antarctic explorer, cold and alone, but not scared. Sullen closer "A Dream" reminisces about the simple pleasures of life on Earth, and how it's time to wake up. There is a light socio-political theme running throughout but it's not overly obvious. While it's unlikely that the acoustic folk presented here will relaunch Phillips' career into the stratosphere, Secrets of the New Explorers deserves to be discovered.

JamBase | Cosmos
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[Published on: 4/1/08]

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