Tobin Sprout – Lost Planet & Phantom Voices

Tobin Sprout
Lost Planet & Phantom Voices

I have always admired the work of Tobin Sprout in his many endeavours. Sprout has been very busy as a musician and using his artistic skills for other uses as well for many years now. This is the newest full-length solo release from Sprout in a couple of years now after his various projects like Airport 5, Eyesinweasel, and others. Sprout has always had a special way with melodies that rise to the surface, and he is a throwback to old-school pure pop songsters. This release has Sprout working by himself as well as with a band and contains a pair of songs he has leant to a film project.
“Indian Ink” is a lo-fi humming little ditty with Sprout’s melodic voice rising above the buzz of the production. This song has some very nice rhythmic guitar playing along with a plain set drum programming that creates a pleasant feeling. “Doctor #8” is one of the strongest pieces here with it’s perfected brand of psych-pop. Songs like this are what makes Sprout a master of his craft; it is just truly incredible. The instrumentation used is very nice with a good harmonica break as well as lively drumming from Mark Price. “All Those Things We’ve Done” is a bouncy little love number with chiming guitars and good vocals.
“Courage the Tack” is the center piece for this record with its beautiful multi-tracked vocals and chugging guitar. Sprout shows his knack for melody with the bright and layered vocals that give the song a wonderful flow. “As Lovely As You” has a great herky-jerky new-wave rhythm that would fit perctly with some of the higer class material from that genre. Sprout’s vocals make this song with the repetitive guitar edging him along. “Shirley the Rainbow” finds Sprout heading back to psych-pop territory wither he is extremely comfortable after doing it for so long. It has some very nice wordplay combining the lyrics: “Surly as Shirley does / It’s always Shirley’s love” is a wonderful warbly voice conveying his emotions.
It’s always great to hear something from Sprout because you are almost always guaranteed of at least two great songs, even on an off day. Sprout adds another notch to his belt with this record, even some of the lesser songs are just slightly below incredible. This is a CD that has grown on me everytime I hear it, and that is always a good thing; it won’t blow you away the first time, but it eventually will. Sprout has a way of making his songs come to life, and there are a number of gems he has done that with here. This disc isn’t perfect, as a few enjoyable songs may not be up to par with the rest, but that shouldn’t matter with the quality around them. It is worth constant repeated listenings and is a grower because of its beauty. Magnificent.