Album: Petra Jean Phillipson <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fivestar -->

Notes on Love, GRONLAND
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The Independent Culture

Petra Jean Phillipson's situation makes for an instructive contrast with Charlotte Church's. The 32-year-old singer-songwriter has spent years accruing experience, in life and music, before recording this debut album with the former Verve guitarist Si Tong. Work experience with such idiosyncratic talents as The Beta Band, Marc Almond, Mad Professor, Martina Topley-Bird, and most recently David Holmes in The Free Association, has clearly instilled a belief in the importance of finding a musical personality. For Phillipson, that comprises a blend of folk-baroque and country-blues, with acoustic guitar arrangements backed by subtle pump-organ drones, mandolin trills, and sundry hummings, whistlings and whines. Her vocal manner combines a lonesome, yearning drawl with a strong sense of self-determination - there are traces of PJ Harvey in the bluesy grind of "Independent Woman"; the languid pain of Billie Holiday in "I'm Lying"; and in "One Day", the powerful fragility of Beth Gibbons. Lyrically, she contemplates "visions blurred by dreams of oblivion" in "Wildfire", acknowledges the impossibility of fulfilment in "I Want the Impossible" and the possibility of nihilism in "Nothing If Not Writing Time". The result is a mature, compelling work that's unlikely to trouble the pop charts, but whose impact lingers vividly in the mind.