TRAGIK
Poetic Justice
Now & Then

Phil Vincent is in imminent danger of over exposure with three releases about to hit the market at the same time. The three releases are a solo album called ‘Secrets’ and two band projects called Circular Logik and Tragik. Note the “K” in each band as he gets a bit stressy if you use a “C”.

Hard RoxX has had its fair share of success and failures over the years we have been going. The failures can wait for another day but I take great pride in the fact that Phil has always credited us with breaking him in Europe. As a result he burnt me a CD of this release to listen to during my latest spell in hospital.

Maybe it was the morphine but listening to ‘Poetic Justice’ I went through one of those musically induced religious experiences that you never forget. Previous examples include the first time I saw Thin Lizzy live, an Ace Frehley acoustic track that Tommy Vance played on the radio and a US hardcore outfit whose debut album featured a gunman walking into a children’s playground with a gun!

I don’t expect to reach such a high again, you never do the second time around (Thin Lizzy being the exception that proved the rule) however‘ Poetic Justice’ sees Phil performing to his usual high standards (honed over countless excellent solo albums) only with punchier guitars (shredder Damian D’ercole), more keyboards (Phil) and razor sharp drumming (Dirk Philips).

Openers ‘Giving In’ and ‘Can’t Find The Words’ are a match for the best that Phil has produced on his own, although I am particularly partial to the little guitar twirl at the beginning of the former. ‘Black And White’ rocks big time and if you don’t get melancholy listening to ‘Jessica’ you are a heartless bastard (I cried liked a total wuss!). As a result ‘Shadows Of Loneliness’ seems out of place until the majestic swathes of keyboard chords end the track. ‘At The Shore’ builds up slowly before ending with some crashing chords courtesy of Damian D’ercole, a theme that is followed on ‘Long Way From Home’. At times you fear that Damian may just fall asleep such is the effect wrung from every chord, however Phil keeps him awake with some ‘Maxell - Break The Sound Barrier’ effect keyboard playing.

The foot tapping head banging‘ Before It’s Gone’ ups the tempo. This is followed by ‘Jaded’ the only track I am not too sure about. It rocks but is too deliberately discordant (and modern?) for my tastes. The album ends on an emotional low note thanks to the morbid, but rocking, ‘Remember’ and the weepy ballad ‘Never’.‘ Remember’ highlights what a great drummer Dirk Phillips is, trust me, high on morphine I heard every beat of the drums synchronised with each guitar chord to the nano second (I guess they fix that in the studio these days) whilst ‘Never’ reminds me that Phil is a massive Paul McCartney fan.

I had begun to worry that Phil Vincent was losing the plot by not working with other musicians. Whilst ‘Poetic Justice’ doesn’t mean that I am right it certainly makes for convincing listening. BTW Phil, I still think you need more keys!!! Krank it up mate and sod all those air guitarists!

8.5/10 (Clean)
11/10 (Morphine assisted)
Matthew Honey Hard RoxX 2