Joel R.L. Phelps* : The Downer Trio ‎– 3

My Pal God Records ‎– MPG-021
Vinyl, LP


1 The Way Down 3:33
2 Rev Robert Irving 3:42
3 Hope's Hit 4:33
4 Always Glide 4:51
5 Give Me Back My Animal 5:08
6 Who Can I Burn? 3:30
7 Chaplin's Radio-Telephone 2:37
8 Fifty 4:31
9 Alita Aleta 3:19
10 Lull 5:00

Companies, etc.



Recorded in Chicago January 1997
Mastered at Fantasy
All songs (C) 1997 Fin Songs (ASCAP)
(P) 1998 Pacifico Recordings

Other Notes:
Recorded at Electrical Audio, Chicago.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Rights Society: ASCAP



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October 1, 2016
THE LOW KEY introspective quality of these ten harrowing unanswered songs struggling into life on clouds of doubt and reasoning cares - bare little or no resemblance to PHELPS contributions as a member of Silkworm circa "Libertine" days. As Blake once said - Fear and Hope are - Vision.

In "Hope's Hit:" 'I'm as blown as the barflies in this town... / ...I'm as thin as the dress you got on' - portraits his fears subtly as he does throughout the better part of the record but that is not to say that this record is a downer as the moniker intends to conclude. Phelps' lyricism and uncomplicated rhythms sculpt a personal restraint - less is more.

The sweet sounding "Who Can I Burn" is crisp and clear in it's delivery accented heartbreakingly by Phelps unique vocals (held in check till we get to the aggressive shrill of "Fifty"); pedal steel guitar and solitary acoustic "americana" guitar strum. Mixed evenly throughout the album are upbeat snappy rhythms like "Always Glide" "Rev. Robert Irving" or "Alita Aleta:" 'Torn a hole out of your spirit place' - adding words that seem to contradict the melody.

If you're looking for something to replace your sadness or just plain feel the "need to bleed" - THE DOWNER TRIO's third album to date may be just the prescription you've been waiting for.