PCN Magazine

“Wolf Ahead, Tiger Behind” The New Album from Phillip Bracken

“Close your eyes. Count back from ten. Dissolve your tired ways.

Wolf Ahead, Tiger Behind”, the debut Album from Australian songster Phillip Bracken is out now on Access Records.  This Melbourne native relocated to Europe in 2013, settling in the Polish town of Opole. Known for his evocative voice, hypnotic guitar stylings, and warm stage presence, along with his spin on Indie Folk and ambient World Music brought about an introduction to Polish ethno Jazz icon Jacek Mielcarek and led to two live recordings “The Opole Sessions”, and “Live at Radio Opole”.

“Wolf Ahead, Tiger Behind” was recorded in Warsaw, Poland with his band, Mateusz Szemraj (Electric Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer), Denis Dubiella (Bass, Synths), and Wojciech Lubertowicz (Percussion/drums) and features guest appearances from Mielcarek, Patryk Walczak and Robert Cichy.

The album itself is a real joy – fresh, exciting, invigorating – everything you want from new music from a new artist.  Opening track “Push Me” sets a high standard and is a good indicator of what is to come.  An ethno rhythmic guitar riff starts up and holds steady throughout the track, Bracken’s voice a low howl over the top before a funky mid-section finished off with swirling organ and moody brass, the rhythms and layered instruments daring you not to move your feet, your head, your spine.  Every track features infectious beats, hypnotic haunting vocals and layer upon layer of instrumentation that keeps the listener interested and engaged throughout. 

Latest single “The Prophet”, the 4th single release from this album, is another great example of the depth and complexity of Brackens work.  A “grab you by the ears” kind of song, that does not let go, with its infectious Celtic-inspired riff, punchy drumbeat and soaring vocal. The opening lines of the song “Close your eyes. Count back from ten. Dissolve your tired ways.” hinting at the hypnotic nature of a track that will leave you breathless with its intensity.

Phillip Bracken

For a debut album, this is simply superb. An album of hypnotic rhythms, infectious beats, layers upon layers of instrumentation, and all overlaid with Bracken’s unique voice and distinct phrasing.  As you listen It feels like he is telling you a story, the way the haunting voice rolls and slides and howls. Every song wants to grab you by the spine and shake you and you find yourself moving in time to the rhythm, almost involuntarily and will definitely put a smile on your face.

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Track Listing

  1. Push Me
  2. New Black
  3. Sugar
  4. Wake Up
  5. Wolf Ahead Tiger Behind
  6. Take my Hand
  7. The Prophet
  8. Angel’s Place
  9. Tricks in My Eyes
  10. Black Mama

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