YEE Inventions (label)
17 May 2019 (released)
04 June 2019
Phildel returns with her electronic flavoured third studio album Wave Your Flags.
Phildel’s music is informed by her harrowing personal journey. Promotional notes for the album describe an artist who has had to endure an “abusive stepfather”, fighting to get a conviction against him, and becoming estranged from her immediate family.
Wave Your Flags focuses on the emotional rebuild. The acoustic and electronic amalgamated project spends most of its time on rebuilding with the support of loved ones.
The singer showcases her melodic vocal talents throughout. During opener ‘The Deep’ her high tones serves as a sweet counterpoint to a gloomy melody.
The vocals and the contrast of acoustic and electronic work to good effect on songs like ‘Wild Sea’.
During the song the protagonist is battling her demons whilst struggling to avoid hurting those around her. Staccato guitar, gloomy piano notes, and foreboding violin make for an oppressive opening. As things progress however, the electronic sound begins to gently enter the mix. Suddenly, the oppressive nature lifts as the computer mimics the soothing sound of the tide drifting in and out. It implies that while times maybe tough there is still calm in the storm and hope remains.
‘Lamb’ is one of the LPs strongest tracks as it Chronicles the words of support the battle-hardened artist would give her inner child, according to Phildel. With the instrumentation at its most minimalist, the word sound like those of an angel offering solace and strength.
The album’s bookend also proves a lyrical standout. The singer appears to have been through plenty of trials and tribulations,but that hasn’t stopped her pushing to come out the other side.
The finale is a confidently defiant anthem about being comfortable with your reality.
The ‘Glorious’ lyrics reveal:
”Here, I win my day I make my kill upon the grave And need no hero to be saved Here, the light still shines
Despite the odds and all the time Despite the Gods and their design….”.
The message is clear that while others may doubt, self-belief and conviction can be enough. The album’s last chapter not only closes this latest episode, but also looks to begin a brighter future.
Unfortunately, the project also has its weaknesses.
‘A Great Wave’ is an unusual mix of cold synth, and moody piano. The former attempts to capture the attention whilst propelling the track forward, but it doesn’t pair well with its acoustic counterpart.
The concoction doesn’t work as it makes the piece feel unnecessarily draining, not to mention a momentum killer.
While the lyricism holds its own most of the time, there is one surprising instance where it lets the side down.
During ‘Wild Sea’ Phildel sings:
“You, are my emblem of gold You, won't remember you told me You, have a right not to know How good it feels when you hold me…”
By itself this is a perfectly fine verse, but it’s undermined by the very next track. Titled ‘Emblem’, it Spends its running time expounding on the virtue of deep connection over symbolism.
“We've got the real thing Not the emblem, not the emblem…”
It’s an odd contradiction, to praise a lover as the very embodiment of the thing the artist spends the next song shrugging off. Taken as separate entities both sentiments are perfectly sweet, but given their proximity and stark contrast to each other it proves to be clumsy.