The Scotsman
1998

Still Playing the Fool
Cafe Royal
Music ****
Let's get the comparisons out of the way. As a singer, Philip Jeays places and Anthony Newleyesque voice inside a mime artiste's body beneath a Keith Richards hairstyle. As the storytelling writer of bitter-sweet songs of an often racing, melodic pull, he's like a British Jacques Brel.

Still, Jeays has an avid, charismatic cabaret style all his own, dipped in theatricality. He combines a critical, acrid wit (listen to him lambaste [sic] all Idiots in Uniforms or send out a big F... You to everyone, including death) with a streak of self-pitying sentimentality via ballads (the ravenous Say You Love Me) and songs of memory.

The sometimes harsh, insistent bleat in his voice can be a tad wearying and in this programme of songs his vocal range doesn't exactly startle. It is, however, a strong voice with perhaps a greater warmth than his material wrings from it. On top of that, Jeays seems like he'd be a slyly fun person with whom to hang around. His back-up band [sic] comprised of keyboards, guitar, cello and flute, serves him well.

Donald Hutera