Review by Vince Leigh
For any creative, the unexpected circumstances of enforced isolation amid a pandemic is a curious state; aloneness is, after all, what many artists require anyway, uninterrupted periods, solitude.
Such nefarious circumstances as the proximity of a transmittable disease might indeed dampen the spirits somewhat; it nonetheless provides more than enough material for discussion, not to mention art.
And so, when this situation is coupled with another—an interpersonal fall-out, a relationship break-up—what then? An abundance of grist it just might be.
And that’s how Australian R&B artist Phoenix Verdum has chosen to interpret such a situation, with new track This Is The Way the result. The song was inspired by a break-up which was no doubt made more complicated, or not, by the isolation. Being the self-sufficient musician he is—Phoenix writes, performs, records, produces—his creativity was utilised to deal with it, or to deal with what the consequences might be.
As Phoenix has said about the new track:
“Not all break-up songs need to be sad and soppy, as break-ups can and should lead to better things.”
And so from that comment, we learn how Phoenix has indeed dealt with it. The result is certainly a zippy swaggering funk-pop tune, with Phoenix’s R&B vocal styling at the fore and retro elements coursing through the track’s production veins at every turn. The melodic power is consistent throughout, without having to switch into warp drive for the chorus which would mean letting the pop gloss dampen its fiery dance floor spirit; it remains steadfastly a good-time, soulful kind of track relying on groove, attitude and an armoury of shiny synths, Moog-like basses, swirling bvs and drum dynamics for most of its engineering.
Already an established live performer—Phoenix has shared the stage with such artists as Guy Sebastian, Darryl Braithwaite, Jebediah and The Superjesus—This Is The Way’s commercial appeal will no doubt validate Phoenix’s evolving musical career narrative.