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Phil Norby releases Pollywog LP

Thrusting itself from the speakers like a bat out of hell, the deluge of distorted guitar melodicism that we find in the first few bars of Phil Norby’s “Say “I Love You”” is undeniably some of the most exciting of any found on his debut LP Pollywog. In this first official studio offering, Norby combines brooding pastoral poetry with fiery guitar rock of the most flexible strain. Rather than relying on aesthetical foundations and predictable pop hooks as a means of colorizing his lyrics in this record, he uses poetry as a framework for his instrumentation, with the resulting cocktail of texture and tonality sounding accessible to fans of all backgrounds and tastes.

MORE ON PHIL NORBY: https://www.philnorbymusic.com/

While I haven’t been able to say this about the vast majority of content I’ve been listening to in the last couple of months, there really isn’t any filler to be pointed out and broken down in Pollywog. Songs like “Battle Cry Lullaby” and “Until You’re Gone” have next to nothing in common with the vapid pseudo-indie rock charting well this year, and in all actuality, they actually flout the structural integrity of that material without Norby having meant for them to. He’s a unique songwriter, and his multifaceted composing instantly distinguishes his work from that of the competition.

The vocal that Phil Norby brings to the studio with him in Pollywog is always the most sterling component within the master mix of “I’m Not the Man” “Face in the Crowd” and “Influencer,” and personally, I think this was a deliberate move on the part of producers. He wields a tonal expressiveness when he sings that a lot of crooners would kill to have at their disposal, but even at his most swaggering, I think it’s worth noting just how unarrogant he sounds in the big picture here.

Pollywog features one of the best and most eclectic mixtures of ballads and bruising guitar content as we get into its second act, and though he’s clearly a pop musician in all of the ways that count for something, I wouldn’t be quick to pigeonhole Phil Norby’s sound at all. Other than his having a knack for pulling even the most jagged of melodic elements together in a pop harmony, there’s nothing predictable about this young man’s style of play. He’s still got some room for growth, but this record absolutely shows me that he has an immense capacity for creative output in general.

APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/album/pollywog/1488794230?ign-gact=3&ls=1

Rookie releases are never very easy to create, produce or promote, but in the case of Phil Norby’s phenomenal Pollywog LP, this is one singer/songwriter that makes all of the work seem rather effortless. Norby has a talent, an “it” factor if you will, that can’t be contained within the four walls of a recording studio for much longer, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do on stage. If even a fraction of the energy he brings to this album translates into a live performance, his will be a tough moniker to avoid in the years still ahead.

John McCall

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