len Phillips has been making music for two decades now, starting as the 14-year-old frontman of Toad the Wet Sprocket. During that time, he's accumulated a sizable body of work comprising seven albums with Toad (which collectively have sold close to 4 million units) and three as a solo artist. The latest, Winter Pays for Summer - his first for Lost Highway - is at once the most richly melodic and the most intensely personal album of his career. Lost Highway. 2005.
Disciples of Toad the Wet Sprocket
held their collective breaths when front man Glen Phillips tucked himself into semi-retirement following the bands 1998 break-up. But after a few years as a home body and father, new songs again dripped from Phillips creative psyche, and his third solo record in three years may be his boldest, most rewarding work to date. Front and center, as usual, are guitar-hooks galore and mature and personal narratives, with producer John "Strawberry" Fields (Switchfoot, Andrew W.K.) straining the larger-than-life instrumentation and "woo-woo" choruses through a pop filter. The versatile Phillips can strike up a nursery rhyme ("Duck and Cover") or prosaic ballad ("True") as effortlessly as he can the hummably persuasive tunes that are his m.o.: the inspirational "Clear-Eyed, the Randy Newman-inspired "Dont Need Anything" and "Thankful," which recalls the riff-heaviness of Matthew Sweets Girlfriend
and leaves many Toad fan to breathe a little easier. --Scott Holter