This is from 'ALTERNATIVE ROCK - the essential
listening companion' by DAVE THOMPSON - an American
publication published by Third Ear


PHILIP JEAYS

BORN 6/24/62 (Taunton, England)


Singer-songwriter Jeays was living in France when he
discovered Jacques Brel - just the latest in a long
line of introspective troubadours to have fallen under
the Belgian songwriter's spell in the years since
Scott Walker snatched his muse back from the likes of
Rod McKuen and re-invented Brel for the
English-speaking doom-pop crowd. David Bowie, Alex
Harvey, Marc Almond, and Momus have all acknowledged
Brel's impact on their work, as both writer and
performer. But only the pioneering Walker ever
suceeded in truly translating homage into his own
words, turning in a fourth album (1969's Scott 4)
loaded with distinctly Brel-ian, but uniquely
personal, self compositions.
Jeays' debt to Brel, too, is heavy; like Walker,
however, it would swiftly be amply repaid with a
series of songs which, again, echoed but rarely aped
the master's. After some years spent gigging around
the southern English club circuit, Jeays' one man show
erupted into mainstream consciousness in 1996, when he
appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. (He
would make triumphant returns there in 1998 and 1999.)
There the Scotsman newspaper raved, "Jeays has an
avid, charismatic cabaret style all of his own, dipped
in theatricality. Alternatively casting himself as
romantic fool, sneering devil, and irony streaked
sinner, Jeays produces a neat, hour-long set mixing
wisdom and sarcasm, self-reflection and
self-dramatization."
Other press was swift to follow. Comparisons with
Bowie, Tom Waits, and even Stephen Sondheim, aside
from the inevitable Brel and Walker, prompted The
Morning Star  to enthuse, "Jeays writes his own songs
in a style quite unlike any other British songsmith
I've heard. They are superbly crafted, written with
poetic sensibility that is imbued with bitter irony
and mordant wit. They can be funny and touching
simultaneously and often carry in their subtext
serious comment on human nature."
 1997 saw Jeays make a similar impression at both the
Salisbury Festival and the Canadian Vancouver Comedy
Festival. Two years later, with a band comprising
David Harrod (piano), John Peacock (guitar), William
George Q (bass), and Ditton Pye (drums), he released
his now much-anticipated debut album, October, backing
it up with a series of live shows climaxing at the
Talk of London in early 2000. Summer then saw the
release of Jeays' second album, Cupid Is A Drunkard,
launched during the Edinburgh Festival in August.

Philip Jeays LPs

October (DPR - UK) 1999 A staggering achievement, even
once you know what's coming next. Ten songs range from
the droll "Madame" to the shattered "Remember me to
the Roses", a rollercoaster of emotions which trips
blithely from savage betrayal to unquestioning
adoration, and still finds time to laugh at its own
maudlinity.

Cupid Is A Drunkard (DPR - UK) 2000 The title track is
reprised from October ; otherwise, more of the moody,
maudlin, marvelous same.