PHIL VINCENT – Stigmata

Rock Company 2021

PHIL VINCENT –
Stigmata

Going from strength to strength where the lesser mortals find fatigue, American artist fights stereotypes.

It took Phil Vincent less than a year to deliver a sequel to "Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday" – the album that seems to share with a preceding record not only sonic watermarks but also autobiographical slant. Unlike what was before, though, “Stigmata” feels rather gloomy, at least lyrically, the multi-instrumentalist presumably taking stock of the circumstances which have lead him to here and now. As a result, there are statements to be made and corollaries to be drawn – as usual, in most melodic, if rocking, fashion.

The elements of the title-suggested Passion Play are apparent from the album’s start to the end, from the point when the nervous pulse of “No End In Sight” posits a purpose for Phil’s defiance, a flaming heart amidst six-string blaze, to the moment when “Reason To Believe” soars towards the bright future. Only if the groovy brace of “Time” and “My Life” radiates pride and panache, “My Darkness” unravels dramatic harmonies into a piano-led, delicate ballad only to coil them again in a tight chorus and stream hope through the heavy veil of loneliness. However, it’s “It Don’t Matter Anymore” that offers a brilliantly theatrical performance – one of Vincent’s best ever, and it’s “So Tired” that displays the orchestral span of his emotional wings.

Adding another foot to the scope, the molten take on “Eleanor Rigby” – elevated by Vince O’Regan’s guitars, finally exposes the singer’s ability to sympathize with the stranger’s tragedy and still remain faithful to himself. That’s what this record is about: the glory of perseverance and its mark on artistic soul.

****4/5

June 28, 2021

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