Andrew McPherson Phoenix at the Wheel

Having worked behind the board with acts such as the Philosopher Kings, Gus Gus and Stephen Fearing, producer Andrew McPherson takes a shot at the being on the other side. Part jazz, part folk, part electronic and overall down-tempo, his latest offering moves along at a consistently even pace without too many peaks and dips. McPherson’s vocals — a mellow, baritone art-rock blend of Nick Cave and David Bowie — jump out as the strength behind a very sedate musical accompaniment. Piano, guitar and a host of other musical gadgetry played by McPherson himself sit back in the mix allowing the folk-inspired poetics of his lyrical style to be the showcase here. He puts on his well-worn producer/mixer hat also, creating refined arrangements in a very understated way. The alt-country flavoured "At the Bull Fight,” featuring the slide guitar of Nick Craine is a well-placed break through the 11 songs, picking up the pace if even just for one number. (Independent)