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Articles Home » 2017 Articles » Phillips, Darren (Project) - 2017 Volume One
Phillips, Darren (Project) - 2017 Volume One

ARTIST: Phillips, Darren (Project)
ALBUM: Volume One
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2017


LINEUP: Darren Phillips - lead & backing vocals, production * Daniel Skeed - lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards, production * Dennis Ward - lead vocals, bass * Erik Heikne, Michael Palace - lead guitar * Enzo Almanzi - rhythm guitar * Dennis Butabi Borg, Ben Webster - bass * Herman Furin, Mats Ericsson - drums * Jason Pawlak, Robert LaBlanc, Robin Eriksson, Philip Lindstrand - lead vocals, backing vocals * Magnus Midelf - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ready To Fly (feat. Dennis Ward, Jace Pawlak, Dennis Borg, Enzo Almanzi, Erik Heikne & Herman Furin) * 02 Heartbreaker (feat. Philip Lindstrand, Dennis Borg, Herman Furin, Magnus Midelf, Robbie LaBlanc & Jace Pawlak) * 03 Heart Attack (feat. Enzo Almanzi & Sisters Doll) * 04 I Believe (feat. Robbie LaBlanc & Philip Lindstrand) * 05 Monday (feat. Daniel Skeed & Michael Palace) * 06 Cold Turkey (feat. Enzo Almanzi) * 07 Defying Gravity (feat. Robin Ericsson, Enzo Almanzi, Ben Webster & Mats Ericsson) * 08 Thieves In The Night (feat. Jace Pawlak, Dennis Ward, Herman Furin & Enzo Almanzi) * 09 One Shot



This is a mostly Aussie project featuring Darren Phillips on vocals, and a host of guests from all over the world. Just check out the lineup of musicians on this album. Wow. Phillips is a radio host based in Sydney Australia, and has over the years come to know many rock musicians through his line of work. One inquiry about songwriting led to another, and so on and so on (like the old Faberge TV ad from the 80's), and soon, a collection of songs by this all star cast was assembled.

The Songs
There's a few other Aussie friends here, such as the White Widdow pair of Enzo Almanzi and Ben Webster, plus members of Sisters Doll. There's a strong presence from Sweden, German producer Dennis Ward and the American duo of Jace Pawlak and Robbie LeBlanc. No two ways about it, there's is a definite AOR presence throughout, with all the pre-requisite touches in place, but that doesn't give this a pass mark. 'Ready To Fly' is a terrific opener and should interest GDM punters no end. I didn't quite buy into the second track 'Heartbreaker' which ended up being a rock-rap tune. 'Heart Attack' changes tack into a glam styled rocker, not surprising considering the Aussie band Sisters Doll are involved. 'I Believe' featuring Robbie LaBlanc is a tough rocker, but the song sounded slightly out of balance to me. 'Monday' is the album's power-ballad moment, while 'Cold Turkey' also dips into ballad mode though some stinging guitar solo work awakens the slumber. 'Defying Gravity' features some galloping rhythm work but the lead vocals weren't great. 'Thieves In The Night' takes the heavier route, and as a result sounds more cohesive. There's an extra song called 'One Shot' which sounds like a late 80's/early 90's funk-fest.

In Summary
The problem I have with albums like this is two-fold. The overall sound is very disjointed and unbalanced. As a result the thing never flows as well as it should. Rather than a project, it ends up being a compilation album of sorts. Of the songs, nothing really grabs my attention, despite the all-star cast. And that really boils down to the quality of the material, which at the end of the day, is nothing to write home about. I wish I could be more encouraging, but if this is Volume One, maybe there is respite ahead for a Volume Two?

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