Around It Goes EP
(2010 Phil Jacobson)
Phil Jacobson is a young dude, who is still a little wet behind the ears as far as the recording game goes. After all, he literally just dropped his debut EP Around It Goes yesterday.
But you certainly wouldn't know it by listening to the UM School of Music grad's freshman record. Polished and perfectly balanced, his first go-around exhibits the sort of maturity and restraint you might expect from a musician with a good deal more experience.
Jacobson's influences are varied, and you don't need to check his Myspace to make the connection to artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Jack Johnson, John Mayer to James Taylor, and Maroon 5 to Ray Charles. But he manages the influences masterfully, flattering but never imitating and maintaining a level of restraint that keeps him from dumping too much into one song and throwing off the balance.
His background in vocal jazz makes itself apparent at the album's onset with the touching "Raindrop Serenade," which evokes images of some of Maroon's finer moments. But the track still manages to maintain the steadfast undercurrent of pop rock that spans the EP's five tracks, and the percussive acoustic work at the beginning is a clear tip of a well-worn hat to the aforementioned Hawaiian troubadour Johnson.
From there, the album transitions to "Mount Olympus," a more straight-forward pop rock tune with a Jason Mraz sort of swing to it, aimed at some lovely young lady who needs to find her way back down from the clouds. Then the record slows down with "Not With You," a mournful ballad lamenting a connection that just wasn't meant to be. It's evocative of earlier Inside Wants Out and Room For Squares John Mayer, before his day gig became dating every starlet in Hollywood. The catchy "Hey" picks up the pace again. And the EP closes with "As One," another ballad, this time in the John Lennon/Beatles tradition, with a firm focus on its positive message of unity.
Phil Jacobson's Around It Goes is a very pleasant surprise, an example of quality musicianship and sturdy songwriting, and a promise of tremendous potential to be tapped in the very near future. And the local singer-songwriter just released the thing on iTunes yesterday. He'll be celebrating its release tomorrow night with a performance at Bardot that you won't want to miss.
Phil Jacobson's EP Release Party. Wednesday, October 27. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Visit bardotmiami.com.