It’s been four years since folk singer and guitarist Lindsay Phillips left Melbourne for the forest of Vastmanland in Sweden. Even before, Phillips’ earnest vibrato and finger-picked guitar seemed uprooted from an earlier time, his sprightlier songs fit to accompany a Renaissance dance.
This pared-back timelessness is what continues to appeal most on PSALM IV, its antiquated air enhanced by the exhalations of an heirloom accordion.
Lyrically, Phillips dwells on his spiritual farewell to Australia, “a home unrecognisable as the land he’d once perceived it to be”. On several songs, he hums, sombrely, to harmonise with himself – a method that intensifies his air of isolation – while Psalm No. IV hints at a Gregorian chant. Not a note – sung or plucked – is wasted, with Phillips’ words on Mourning Of a Golden Age a good summary of what he has again achieved. “Our words as arrows and their mark we hope will find.”
Sydney Morning Herald version (scroll)