A melody roars from the silence like a mysterious growl from beyond the forest. Soon John Philbrick’s gentle vocal, clashing with the cold stillness of the groove, will enter the fold and ignite as much intensity in the track as any of the riffs ever could. We’re only ten seconds into his new single ”Losing Out To Crazy” and there’s an ominous vibe that we can’t seem to shake, a sort of enticing element of danger that we can’t resist no matter how hard we try. One is inclined to wonder if we’re getting closer to Philbrick’s core in this track, or if his heavy aesthetic envelops us in an overwhelming embrace.
The contrast between the darkness of the music and the soul in his voice is almost noir-esque in certain spots, but as we press on, it becomes more than obvious that this juxtaposition is required to appreciate everything taking place here.
Even as we get into the verses here, John Philbrick’s in love with the riff more than anything else. There are moments where the instrumental dynamic is so powerful that it’s easy to ignore some of the lyrical lashings in the foreground, but this isn’t to say that the vocal doesn’t have any value. On the contrary, this is a situation where the swing of the drums and the punch of the guitar emphasize the tone of the lyrics more than anything the singer could have done on his own, recalling some of the best works to come out of the original classic rock era.
Philbrick has a lot of old-school metal influences buried in the structure of this piece, and it’s clear that the mark of the late 70s was not lost on his stylization as an artist.
There’s a certain throwback sensibility to his sound that instantly reminds me of some of the slicker beats I’ve heard from the emerging post-punk revival movement, albeit different in tone, yet there’s also an accent of surrealism that sets the tone for the entire track and almost makes this song feel a little poppy in its finished form. By the time we reach the climactic musical breakdown towards the end of “Losing Out To Crazy,” the hook has already been planted in our minds and the chorus has planted itself firmly in our memory. One thing is for certain, this man knows how to write catchy riffs that leave a lasting impression long after a virgin sampling of his work.
I expect that we should be hearing a lot more from this burgeoning artist as we get into 2024, and I think “Losing Out To Crazy” is bound to find a comfortable home in this present market that is quite desperate for some fresh rock and roll that doesn’t hold back from experimenting with different themes. Interestingly, John Philbrick chose this song to serve as his foray into the pop music spectrum, because out of all the subject matter he could have drawn from to create his latest track, he chose the one quality that people seem to be lacking the most right now – self-awareness.
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