Debutant has been one of my discoveries of last year, through two nice songs, "Thirst" and "Definition", on a split EP with Conquering Animal Sound.
Finally Phillip Quirie is back with a debut full length, self released and offered for free, a pure solo album, written and recorded alone, the conclusion of three years of intensely personal songwriting.
Buried in reverb, atmospheric and minimal, names of other artists like Songs of Green Pheasant, July Skies or Chuzzlewit come to my mind, but in a much more simple, monochromatic and linear form probably in direct relation to his unconditional love for Eluvium.
Ten songs for 46 minutes, "Thirst" and "Debutant" are featured too, but in new versions not very different maybe just less intimate.
I go through this album like floating, I find it hard to focus and I feel like drifting endlessly, the presence of a track in three parts ("Thirst") adding to the confusion.
My favorite track is the instrumental "Solitude (we stand alone together)" where the main instrument is an acoustic guitar, doubled by an electric one? It is striking, warm and intimate, and the melody reminds me of the "Collecting Things" song by Talons'.
These are these instants, when Phillip Quirie plays acoustic guitar or doesn't bury his vocals under too cold and heavy reverb effects, but instead mixes these with reverb on electric guitar, or develop a kind of subliminal background reverb trail, and they are the most moving.
It's this duality between warm intimate closeness and atmospheric ethereal space which is his main asset, when he uses this, it creates a highly entrancing melancholic climate, like swirls or breeze between warm and cold air, engendering emotional peaks. When he doesn't, his songwriting turn into something indistinct and your attention is diluted.
So I keep "Solitude", "Yeah! Currahee!", another instrumental with the same setup, the second part of "King of Doublespeak", "Thirst pt. 1", "Definition", and "Silencing the guns" (where the acoustic guitar reminds me of Appleseed Cast), in fact even more than half of this album.
Even if not totally satisfying, there are good things on this album and it confirms the talent and potential of Debutant, and with tenacity, growing mastership and progressive refinement, he has got several, better albums in him waiting to be developed and expressed.