PHIL VINCENT – Hypocrite

Rock Company 2019

album cover

PHIL VINCENT –
Hypocrite

Solo album from a man for all seasons which seems to be up close and personal – but what if it’s another mask?

Here’s one wicked record – in terms of quality and restlessness of a singer who fronted a few outfits in 2018 and has submitted new entries from LEGION and CRANSTON in 2019 only to have finally emerged as a performer in his own right, because this offering must be Phil Vincent’s defining moment. Playing most of the instruments himself and focusing on songs, rather than taking care of an ensemble, the Rhode Islander came up with an extremely strong set – with a stylistic twist, a ruse for confusing fans and finding fresh followers, or companions in explorations of various temporal aspects.

It’s a risky endeavor, yet whatever damage opener “Broken” may suggest, the molten assault that hides Vincent’s voice behind the wall of massed guitars is able to heal any fractured soul even before arena-swaying choruses and stereo panorama kick in in anticipation of “Nobody’s Gonna Miss You” and its ivories-driven, hard rocking bombast. Balladry isn’t safe here, then, so the tears leading to “Waste Of Time” get wiped once hefty, if infectious, chords are dropped down on romantic intent. There are lighter moments on the album to let nostalgia seep in through majestic piano and sweet riffs that turn the epic scope of “Back In The Day” into something immeasurably more intimate by removing the piece’s inherent histrionic dynamics in favor of sincere feelings which “What Might Have Been” will take to an early ’80s dancefloor.

That’s quite an unexpected move for Phil, but the contemporary sonics on “Caught In The Act” show how valid such an approach is in an appropriate context. The record’s second half feels less varied – it’s ironic that the most interesting, acoustic-wise cut is titled “Untitled” whereas the title track is loaded with dry, techno-tinged heaviosity – while “Time Will Tell” brings on a refreshed six-string action. Towards the finale, the finely balanced, groovy, disco-tinctured AOR of “Never Enough” should confirm the dual, two-albums-in-one, nature of “Hypocrite” – a person that Vincent himself isn’t: he’s released the mask worn for some time and revealed his true face.

****

May 22, 2019

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