Singer/Songwriter Nick Phoenix Releases New Album

It just flows out of some people. Nick Phoenix has a day job as one half of Two Steps to Hell’s creative partnership with Thomas Bergersen composing music for television and film that’s been both an ongoing financial and artistic triumph for the company Phoenix, however, has never forgotten what it was that originally brought him to Los Angeles after graduating college. He finally decided to satisfy his desire to write songs, sing, and play his music with a band with the 2021 release of the album King of One, but it whetted his whistle for more.

YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7We1L0s1c8I

2022’s Wide World opens in a bold manner. The title song recalls many of its more illustrious predecessors, but you hear Phoenix reaching higher than ever before. There is a music of the spheres aspect present in many of the album’s eleven tracks and this is no exception, but one of the splendid elements defining his songs is that it never falls into bathos. There’s no melodrama.

Phoenix definitely loves big screen production numbers. “Rise Up” won’t qualify as rock and roll by any purist definition of the term, but the music embodies the exhortative implications of its title. It isn’t a paint by numbers call to the ramparts either but, instead, deftly orchestrated. It doesn’t hit a false or forced note, however, and has tremendous emotional appeal.

“Always On” finds Phoenix’s “speaker” seemingly in the dying days of a likely once happy romance and the music compliments the lyrical mood. Regret has many faces in this song; there’s regret things have descended to this level, regret that the speaker doesn’t know what to do or say to remedy the situation, and regret that it hasn’t yet gotten quite as bad as it can. Slowing the tempo for the song’s chorus brings home the track’s deflated spirit without ever spiking the song’s momentum.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/track/0G89LWTr2F0rAy9uNJdlWr?autoplay=true

Piano is an instrumental focal point of the album and one of the most lyrical displays of its beauty comes with the song “Row”. This ballad has gravitas without ever sounding overwrought.

His affinity for songs about heartbreak continues with the track “If I Let You Go”. Phoenix, however, spares us the aural agony of rehashing hackneyed tropes and owes more of a debt to the Leonard Cohen style of such fare. Even if he lacks Cohen’s poetic chops, however, Phoenix has a talent for finding natural rhymes rather than attempting to shoehorn in bad lines hoping the listeners don’t notice.

SMART URL: https://lnk.dmsmusic.co/nickphoenix_wideworld-1

The elliptical, fragmented riddle of a lyric for “He Knows Enough” is suggestive and leaves interpretive room for listeners. Some of those listeners, however, may find it a little incongruous set against the initially thoughtful arrangement on the first listen. It’s songwriting sleight of hand, however. Phoenix and his collaborators ramp up the musical firepower until the track transforms into a theatrically impassioned roar. “He Knows Enough”, like the album’s finest moments, portrays emotions and situations writ large, but intimacy and artistry remain its hallmarks. Intimacy and artistry define Nick Phoenix’s Wide World as a whole. 

Anne Hollister

Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.

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