The Stage
1998
Cafe Royal

Still Playing the Fool
Singer/songwriter Philip Jeays knows how to write a tune. But it's his words which count. This is an hour's worth of songs, each of which is a short story in its own right. Some are just that, whimsical or humourous narrative stories, but the best songs are those, such as Richenda or Geoff, which pick an emotion and take it for a walk. It helps that Jeays' material is highly personal, but his distaste for organised religion and the use of uniforms to create those who "live their lives in little swarms" certainty has the ability to offend.

At his best, Jeays' pale, thin figure and warm, honey-coated voice are reminiscent of David Bowie in his golden years. His band - piano, guitars, flute and cello, played by David Harrod, William George Q. Kari Hide-Prince and Lowdy Brabyn respectively - provide tight backing, in arrangements which pick up and echo the timbre and syncopation of the voice and words.

If anyone needed a late-nineties rock opera, Jeays would be the one to call.
Thom Dibdin