Phil Cooper – Half Live, album review

It’s a two-disc release. There’re 18 tracks in total. So I’ll tell you one thing: it’s certainly value for money!
Phil Cooper’s songs have an honest and raw feel to them. They’re lively yet easy listening, and without fail, every song has a super catchy hook.
https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3391705068/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/ I like Cooper’s sound. It’s folky but it’s modern and his subject matter and fantastic melodies can be enjoyed by a large range of audiences.

I love to hear acoustic music like this. When a song is good, it shouldn’t need masses amount of production over the top of it. I mean, sure, a few fancy twiddles and a bit of cowbell never hurt anyone, but why don’t people ever dare to leave their music bare?

Well, Cooper manages it. His songs carry themselves so well that they don’t need all the glamour. The rough edges add to the vibe of the subject matter and it just rings true. This is proper music.

To get this effect, Cooper recorded his album from live shows. Now I know what you’re thinking but don’t turn away now! Live show recordings can be good, okay? And I assure you, this guy pulls it off. No he doesn’t. He carries it. He does it really friggin well!


Here’s what he had to say about the creation of this album:

‘I wanted to capture the feel of a live show on a studio recording, so I recorded two live shows and took them in to the studio to add a few little extras. The result is an album which revels in the rawness of a live concert, but still presents the songs the way I hear them in my head!’

And it works so fantastically well! 

Not only do we get the genuine live vibe from the show, but we also get the full band effect what with all the extra add ons from the studio. He’s added some vocal harmonies, a bit of bass, percussion and all the jazz just to give it that extra album umph. 

This album is great for someone like me who absolutely loves heading out to the local pub for a bit of local music but either can’t make it to the show, or wants to bring that vibe home with them.
And it sounds like he puts on a good show too:

‘I’m an energetic singer-songwriter with a knack for earworms, entertaining and including the audience in the show. I often start shows completely unplugged and standing in amongst the audience, to break down the performer/viewer barrier and make the show special for everyone there.’

How ace is that?

Obviously, the album isn’t perfect. How can it be? It’s a recording of a live show. But I applaud the honesty and integrity in that. This is exactly what a good independent musician should sound like.

I’d recommend it to anyone.

Oh, and did I mention? The guy’s got a great voice!

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