The liner notes in Philip Kane's album Songs for Swinging Lovers explain an experience that had detrimental affect to him and the person he was in a relationship with. He candidly explains the results, and how its effects changed him, and led him to make this record. And right off, you get the feeling that record is going to give you once you start listening; heartache, sorry, apologetic remorse. The first track is quick, positive-sounding song, and the horns and loud choruses seem to be opposite of the subject matter. But they rather highlight the vocals, which are soulful and sincere.
The second track, "Oh mercy," is quite slower, and softer. A twangy, succinct guitar leads the soft strings and keyboards in a beautifully unhappy melody. "The train leads me away form you," is a line that not only reflects the feelings being sung, but the album as a whole. At the end of the song, the last line, "I believe forgiveness is everything," shows the desperate desire to mend the heart and wrong done the person he loved.
The next track employs a sad slide guitar, another example of Kane's willingness to broaden the sound while keeping the mood the same. Each of the songs seems crafted very carefully, and does not stray from a structurally sound composition. The songs flow, and don't seem to waiver in consistency.
But then, "Tonight" comes on like an electric alarm, with a shocking spoken word intro, filled with feedback and single-noted bass hits. It tells of a night's escapade into drunken mistakes, despondent and despairing actions of sorrow and self-pity. With sharp flowing vocals, Kane follows up this intro with a funk-driven melody accompanied by wah-wah guitars and scaled bass lines, narrating the events that happen "tonight."
Other songs, with titles like "After the Shipwreck," "To be free," and "A Million Kisses (will not heal you)," immediately show the struggle of someone who's been broken hearted and immersed in the troubles of damaging a relationship. "Barcelona" is a song that utilizes a classical guitar to create the atmosphere of one thinking back on being in Spain. The clever finger picking makes the song sound as if it can be heard in the distance of a café in Barcelona. "Pearl Necklace" is lively, a rocking tune that has its strength in the heavy guitars holding out long chords and Hammond-like organ blasts. And "To be free" is simply vocals and soft keyboard playing - a beautiful, heartfelt song that perfectly expresses Kane's intentions of the record.
Philip Kane has made a record that fully expresses a situation that is difficult to talk about let alone sing about. And it's done with care, with a notion of how all the elements must come together to get a feeling across. Each song leads into the next, and the album lives up to its title.
Tom Fraher is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at email@example.com.