Jodi Phillis’ fifth solo offering, Becoming, is an album that has a strong feminine energy about it – melodic, full of rich textures – an intimate piece of work that explores loss, love, and life – delivered with a real sense of drama and romance. What is surprising is Phillis’ voice – it has never sounded better, whether it’s the harmonising backing vocals or the assured lead vocals, this album is a beautiful collection of songs that are bathed in a feeling of love. Becoming captures an ambience from the 1960s, it feels kaleidoscopic, swirling, and full of sweet harmonies, that is sensitively produced by Phillis’ musician husband, Tim Oxley. Love is omnipresent on the album, the love of her late mother, her husband, her daughters, friends, life and nature – it’s there in her stories and delivered in a way that it almost feels tangible. ‘Visions of You’ has a 1960’s vibe reminiscent of Françoise Hardy and Ennio Morricone, a swirling kaleidoscopic song embedded with drama, nostalgia and the unfurling of a life, with Phillis providing a melodic backing vocal. ‘Mamma Told Me A Secret’ – a paean about her late mother, the alchemy of turning heartache into love and joy “Mamma she could turn the lights on deep inside your heart/She would make you feel like you were beautiful and smart”. Images of felt caps, angels, shining shoes, smiles, cheeks aglow – a song awash with colour and beauty, with the track taking a surprising heart wrenching segue into ‘Love Is a Funny Little Game’ – obviously a song from her mother’s youth.
‘Endless Blue’ has a feeling of Laura Nyro, featuring woodwind instruments, piano, multi-layered backing vocals – a song giddy with love. With ‘The Change’ Phillis sings “I don’t know what I want anymore” – she ponders that she has the love of the people around her, but still remains unsatisfied – sometimes without the hurting there is no change – this song is beautifully sung with such intimacy, that you feel like you a taking a glance at Phillis’ diary.
‘Truth and The Way’ has a country feeling about it, where I can imagine Dolly Parton covering it – with the inspiring line “To be the boss of your day/C’mon and do it your way” and “Freedom is the gift of surrender”. ‘Gotta Feel Alright’ has Phillis giving her daughters instruction on finding the right lover – it has a distinctly funky vibe, and even features a cowbell. It’s a song of empowerment delivered in a languorous manner. ‘Vali’ has that swirling feeling that permeates the album and a song that truly exemplifies Phillis beautiful voice, a song of letting go, change and life’s possibilities, with Jodi doing some Kate Bush-esque backing vocals, that seem to storm out of the blue. The album ends with ‘Hudsons Dreaming’ where you feel like Phillis is sharing something so intimate, and yet so familiar, where you feel you have experienced that feeling of love reminded by places, colours and touch. Gorgeous.
With this album, Phillis has produced something of rare beauty, coupled with strong songwriting, and draped with romanticism and love with evocative backing vocals delivered with passion. A strong feminine energy is distilled on this album, which is such a powerful attribute in music. People that only associate Jodi Phillis as the co-frontwoman of The Clouds, should make sure that they open their ears and take in the breadth of beauty delivered in the forty-nine minutes of music. Sometimes in life, you can forget what it feels like to love – this album jolts you back into place and will make you want to hug and kiss all the people you love! Immerse yourself! Brian Parker - Your Music Radar, Oct 3rd 2018. Becoming will also available on 12" vinyl.