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Phil Shoenfelt & Southern Cross Ecstatic CD

2002 Exupery Records 0001-02, Tschechien
2009 Fuego 1927 [Download], Germany



1. Closer
2. Twisted
3. Don't Look Down
4. Magdalena
5. The Spirit And The Flesh
6. Waiting For You
7. Wasted Life
8. Love And Destruction
9. Heaven Or Hell
10. The Streets Tonight


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Phil Shoenfelt vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, slide guitar, backing vocals
Pavel Cingl violins, electric guitars, viola, mandolin
Pavel Krtous bass guitar
Jarda Kvasnicka drums, percussion, loops
Jaroslav Olin Nejezchleba cello
Petr Pistora piano, organ
Eva Turnova backing vocals on "Don't Look Down"


All tracks published by Warner-Chappell
All songs written and arranged by Phil Shoenfelt
except "The Streets Tonight" (text: Phil Shoenfelt, music: Nico Mansy)
Recorded and mixed at JMP Studios Prague (CZ), December 2001 - May 2002
Produced by Phil Shoenfelt


Normal Mailorder Musik die nicht nur qualitativ an den düsteren getriebenen American Delta Blues und Country erinnert, aber trotzdem von einem englischen Autor und Dichter produziert wurde, der viele Jahre in New York residierte und jetzt in Prag lebt. Phil Shöenfelts Songs reflektieren den Mythos des Ausgestossenen, der durch eine feindselige Landschaft dahintreibt, Opfer seiner Fantasien und Paranoia wird, und dessen Beziehungen zu anderen oft obsessiv und destruktiv sind. Der Einfluss von Pionieren wie The Velvet Underground, Glenn Branca, Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Patti Smith, Television und Swans ist offensichtlich. Die Musik ist Rock, aber mit Avantgarde-Elementen, gespielt von einer erstklassigen internationalen Band, die in Clubs und auf Festivals in ganz Europa und auch Deutschland aufgetreten ist. Während Phil der alleinige Songwriter der Band ist, sind Southern Cross ein sehr demokratisches Kollektiv, dessen dynamische Interaktion zum integralen Teil des Sounds wird. Manchmal sanft und einfühlend, dann wieder hart und gewaltig. "Ecstatic" ist eine fesselnde und emotionale Erfahrung.


Whisperin' and Hollerin' 01/2003
by Tim Peacock
Ex-pat British singer/ songwriter PHIL SHOENFELT is based in Prague, and - at least on the basis of "Ecstatic" - is vastly under-exposed in the western media. Because "Ecstatic" is one of those fine, grown up rock records that comes in from the cold every now and then and sorta smoulders in its' own brilliance. On being handed my promo copy, I was told it would be up my alley (correct), with discussed reference points including The Stooges and Swans: also correct, but only a small fraction of the story here. Indeed, Shoenfelt writes darkly affecting, and often surprisingly romantic songs, and "Ecstatic" presents 10 of them in a beautifully sequenced order. Vocally, he reminds this writer a little of Iggy (in his croonsome moments circa "Blah Blah Blah"), or maybe Michael Gira in his Children of God guise, but his rich voice is nicely evocative in its' own right, and his commanding presence ensures every drop of emotion is wrung out of these songs. Shoenfelt's band SOUTHERN CROSS, meantime, play with fire to spare throughout. Sometimes they rock, with songs like the chilly, but catchy "Magdalena" and the slytalking "Twisted" not dissimilar to earlier, Will Sargeant - shaped Bunnymen, while - at a separate tangent - "The Spirit & The Flesh" rattles with the vivid and determined economy of The Bad Seeds. Phil ain't afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, either. In fact, in "Don't Look Down" and "Waiting 4U" - probably the album's two tenderest moments - he hits peaks of achievement. The former (to these muddled ears) reminds of Crime & The City Solution in their more pastoral moments, while the wistful, loss-ridden lyrical theme of "Waiting 4U" is undeniable. The fact that it's immediately usurped by the bitter, hard-riffing "Wasted Life" only adds to its' charm. Just to ensure we're in no doubt of their talent, they sign off with the dramatic, strings and slide guitar-soaked majesty of "The Streets Tonight": a moving, part-spoken confessonal in the Nick Cave mould, which explodes back into fiery life as you think it's fading out. "Ecstatic" is a finely-wrought, vividly-written and passionately created album, which (if there's any justice) ought to be the introductory door for far more potential listeners in both West and East. A consistently impressive piece of work by anyone's standards. (8/10)


Nikki Sudden
Berlin, 19th November 2002
"Another chapter from the diary of an exiled Englishman living out his middle-years in the Czech Republic. Once again Shoenfelt puts together a delicate parcel of music laced with stories of dignity and decay. As his recent book, Junkie Love, traced out a life in Camden Town in the late-'80's so "Ecstatic" takes the listener on a journey down the gauzy and grubby thoroughfares of Prague. And it's a glorious transverse of those dark-rainy Eastern-European streets. Shoenfelt's last album, Dead Flowers For Alice, was his strongest set yet. "Ecstatic" capitalises on that release. Violinist and viola player Pavel Cingl shines throughout this album's scenarios while Shöenfelt's lyrics reflect the highs and the lows of blemished dignity. Over the past two decades Shoenfelt has acquired a glorious style of his own. This Czech import album allows the world to share some of his more recent epistles. And, as should be, the last track is the best."


Glitterhouse 08/2003 "Neues Album des Exil-Briten. 10 ruhige, hypnotische Rocksongs, Richtung mittlerem Nick Cave und klar Nick Drake beeinflusst, mit emotionalem Tiefgang, wie man es von ihm gewohnt ist. Eigentlich eher eine Herbstplatte, aber melancholische Momente gibt es ja auch im Sommer."



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