Not to be confused with his namesake Dennis , Phil Wilson, nevertheless makes equally compelling gloriously arranged pop tunes. If the name sounds familiar to older readers then that's because he was the frontman of 80s Postcard-alike jangly popsters TheJune Brides. A band that took the wistfully fey romantic Postcard sound of North of the border bands like Josef K, Aztec Camera and Orange Juice, and gave it a London edge. They played with The Smiths and paved the way for the likes of fellow English bands like The Wedding Present and the legendary C-86 NME cover tape. A tape which fellow Saboteur and one-time NME writer Andrew Collins descrbied as: "The most indie thing to have ever existed."
As so often happens The June Brides split. That was 1986, and after a brief stint going solo on Alan McGee's Creation Records, Wilson slipped off the music map. But now, after 25 years, he's back, with the curiously titled 'God Bless Jim Kennedy'.
The opener 'Three Days' bursts to life with Mariachi brass and guitars, with the kind of enthusiasm you'd imagine Wilson has had bottled up for the last quarter of a century. Harmonies, a great hook, strings, and Wilson's vocals ontop, unerringly similar to that of his June Bride days.
The album carries on in the same vein. The kind of carefree songs, you could quite happily listen to whilst skipping through a meadow
'The Sum Of' has hints of Love, 'Pop Song #32' reminds us what a pop song should be like. The kind of song that anyone born in the mid-90s, raised on a junk food diet of X-Factor and Pop Idol would probably not realise existed. 'Small Town' is a folky, bordering on Dexys, love-letter to growing up in a more innocent time and place.
Never letting up pace, '...Jim Kennedy' closes with 'I Own It' just as the album began. Strings, brass, melodies and a voice that belies age. It really is an antidote to the sterile, poseur, image-concious, identikit music we've been served up over the last decade.
The biggest compliment I can pay is that if you like Shack or The Pale Fountains then you'll you'll instantly love this record. If you like any of the other bands mentioned above, you'll love this album. If you like music, with heart, soul and joy, then you'll love this album.
God Bless Jim Kennedy by Phil Wilson is out 8th November.