“[There are a lot of people] who deal with loss and shame and who want to feel like they can find their way back to their center and optimism,” said singer/songwriter Glen Phillips in a recent interview with The Santa Barbara Independent. “Some people feel less alone by hearing about the struggle.” Swallowed by the New, released in October and Phillips’s first solo album in eight years, addresses that struggle head-on in this stunning 11-song offering.
Sonically, Phillips dabbles with myriad genres to great effect. The album opens with the metaphorical love song “Go,” which immediately hooks listeners in with a catchy beat and strong, emotive vocals. Gears change with the pop-rock numbers “Baptistina” and “Amnesty” and shift again with the slow burn of “There’s Always More” and the gospel-tinged “Held Up.” Both “The Easy Ones” and “Grief and Praise” showcase poetic, thoughtful lyrics sung to gorgeous melodies.
Although the tunes range musically, there is a lyrical through-thread of reflection and rumination, of a newly discovered consciousness, of questions with answers still in the ether, that keeps the record cohesive. The end result is an astute array of songs that offer both aural surprises and keen introspection.