Brendan Philip

Shadow Ceremony

BY Ryan B. PatrickPublished May 8, 2015

Brendan Philip's soul and R&B proclivities stand as the straw that mixes the artistic drink, with notes of synth-pop, reggae and new wave stirred in for good measure. On this five-track, self-titled EP, the Toronto-based Philip maintains an empathic sensibility and vocal register that comes off somehow equally laid-back and impassioned. Title track "Shadow Ceremony" typifies the moody electro-punk soul mode wherein Philip throws his haunting vocals over an assured synth approach. "I can see the promise land," he states in "Warning," a slow bounce number that soulfully meanders across ambient groove production.
Philip flips into heavy Dennis Brown mode with the standout "The Feels," a reggae-infused electro-confection that listeners will keep coming back to. Despite overloading the Auto-Tune on the vocals, "Wild Side" has some fun with perky steel drums, wailing electric guitar and wicked beat and rhyme flow. The dance mode of "For You" suffers from a simple hook that borders on cloying — it's perhaps the most skippable track on the project — but as a taste of what Philip is capable of, this EP does the job. It's the perfect priming listen for his impending full-length release, slated for early 2016.
(Fake Art / Dine Alone)

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