Friday, March 16, 2012

Get A Kick Out of Mo Phillips

Creativity is a marvelous thing, to state the obvious.

Portland, Oregon's own Mo Phillips had released two CDs of childrens music and was ready to record another album, but sought funds. He turned to Kickstarter and 98 donors later, MONSTER SUIT arrived.

Every good song comes from a clever concept and Mo Phillips has his concepts down pat. Songs like "Worst Party Ever Thrown" and "Ducks Don't Get Wet" are kind of self-explanatory. If you were expecting "Hot Lava" to rock with a B-52s beat, you would be sorely mistaken. It's actually about how a child's imagination can turn a living room into a fiery lake of molten fluid.

"The Princess and the Cowboy" is a tale of tolerance and role-playing. A little boy puts on a pink dress to become a princess and a girl transforms into a cowboy. The lyrics remind us:

Oh no it doesn't matter what you do you just how you do it

Make sure it's full of happiness and heart

Make sure it's full of love right from the start

How can you not like a sentiment like that?

An early childhood educator, Mo also teaches "Rock 'N' Roll Kindy" to children all over the Portland area. Working with the younger set (and two sons, Henry and Owen) gives Mo a close affinity with their foibles and interests. The title track explains that if the singer had a monster suit, he would run around and scare bad guys yelling "Boo." That's it.

Mo cites the Rolling Stones and Neil Young as main influences. There's no track that explicitly reminds me of anything from EXILE ON MAIN STREET, but really, could a six-year-old handle that? I can hear a stripped-down acoustic sound akin to Neil Young on some of the tracks on MONSTER SUIT.

"All Okay" reminds listeners that no matter how bad a day you may have, everybody gets a chance to start over. Mo Phillips got kickstarted for his third album (similar to what the Not-Its did). He delivers honest guitarwork and uncommonly good lyrics that bring a smile and make things feel all okay.

MONSTER SUIT is available on April 10 from iTunes,, and his own website.
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