Topher Mohr: Phlotilla

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Posted April 10, 2013 by in Pop
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

4.5/ 5

Details

Genre: ,
 
Producer: ,
 
Label:
 
 
 
 
Genre: Pop, R&B,
 
Producer: Topher Mohr, Alex Elena
 
Label: DTI
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc
 
Time: 32:10
 
Release Date: 12 February 2013
 
Spin This: "Lush Life," "Ruthless," "All We Are," "Sidewalk," "Tonight"
 

Pros:

Funky R&B, catchy '80's melodies, warm lyricis all decorate the entire disc
 

Cons:

For those looking for extended jams, this is not the place. All the songs stop dead at the three minute mark.
 

A swath of ’80’s pop-rock, refreshing R&B and hot funk pushes background musician to the front

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

A swath of ’80’s pop-rock, refreshing R&B and hot funk pushes background musician to the front

After cutting his teeth in Mayer Hawthorne’s touring band, Topher Mohr is striking out on his own. Although Phlotilla is nostalgic in every sense of the word, the move to go solo is a smart decision since it doesn’t ride on Mayer’s coattails of “blue eyed soul.” Instead the singer/songwriter with guitar in hand travels down the road of Prince pop, sparkly ‘80’s r&b and ready-radio pop. On “Lush Life,” the opening smooches itself around a lounge-like euphoria using calm Rhodes vibes, but things shift quickly as the funky synths, flirty female backing vocals and kick-ass disco beats surround a melody that sounds like it came out of MJ’s Off the Wall session. Its partner-in-crime, “Ruthless,” works the same way musically but instead explores the wide world of infidelity, even as the grooves show off good vibrations: “Who do you think you are/Playing circus with my fragile emotions, baby/How did I fall so far/You used love as leverage to pry me open.”

The refreshing female backing vocals are also a sweet compliment to Mohr’s sometimes-timid vocals. He’s a bit shy around the ages, and hardly goes for ad-libs and the juicy trademarks of a soul record. But that is the album’s only gripe. Besides him not running at top speed towards the finish line and not expanding some of the album’s hottest grooves beyond the three-minute mark, Phlotilla is a surprising collection of welterweight funk that combines

When his vocal weaknesses become somewhat obvious, he compensates it with a glowing live band sound embossed with heavy guitar riffs, Steely Dan drumming and a dash of Maroon 5 pop. He also isn’t too afraid to abandon what works best for him, venturing into slick reggae (“All We Are”), Eric Benet crooning (“Forever Yours”), Motown bubblegum pop (“Structure”), “Hey Ya” bleeps (“Cindy”) and They Might Be Giants rock (“Tonight”).

Make no mistake about it: Mohr is no one-trick pony. He’s got a majestic storyteller skill with a pulse on essential records.

 

 


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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