Review: Jodi Phillis’ ‘We Need To Be Free’ Is A Much-Needed Warm Embrace

Jodi Phillis

The Breakdown

On her new album 'We Need To Be Free' Jodi Phillis sends a message of hope, love and personal growth to those who have endured so much trauma during the past few years.
Cheersquad Records & Tapes 9.0

Multi-talented Jodi Phillis has just dropped her sixth solo album via Cheersquad Records & Tapes. Formerly the lead singer for legendary Australian band, The Clouds, Phillis will be embarking on an 8-date East Coast tour in August and September, to celebrate the release of ‘We Need To Be Free’.

The album was produced by Damien Lane and features two songs that Phillis co-wrote with her friend and poet, Martha Sear. ‘We Need To Be Free’ is attracting a lot of attention with the single ‘You Are Loved‘, being playlisted by Double J, and ‘It’s Not Love‘ featured by The Guardian in their ‘Australia’s Best New Music For May’ Playlist.

The album kicks off with the gorgeous ‘It’s Not Love’ with Beatlesque harmonies that build to an euphoric crescendo. The song, which is about a disorder that continues to blight the 21st century, narcissism, is tinged with melancholy but still manages to convey a message of hope and perfectly sets the scene for what is to follow. Title track, ‘We Need To Be Free’ is a restrained and brooding ballad that features some great vocals by Phillis. After three torrid years of floods, bushfires and the pandemic, ‘You Are Loved’ is a warm and welcoming embrace, it’s a much-needed fillip for those who endured “excruciating” (according to Phillis) government inaction during the fires.

A dear friend, poet Martha Sear sent me a poem that she had written for a friend who was going through a rough time. As I read her magical words on the computer screen, a melody formed in my mind. Literally, the song came together in about 5 minutes. It was like a divine transmission.

Jodi Phillis

‘Summer Of Fires’ is the other song on this album that Phillis and Sear collaborated on. This track addresses the fear and fury felt by Phillis when both her daughters were trapped within fire zones on the south coast of NSW with no communication. A situation that Phillis describes as a “Fucking Nightmare”.

On ‘Silver Stars’ Jodi strums an acoustic guitar and channels Patti Smith – her vocal and lyrics about childhood memories reminiscent of ‘Birdland’ and just like that iconic track, the music rises and swirls and then fades again, like waves endlessly breaking on a beach.

Phillis has taken up painting, her first exhibition of watercolours sold out in an hour and she entered a portrait of music photographer, Tony Mott into the Archibald Prize. So, it is fitting that ‘Song For Georgia’ is about the celebrated artist Georgia O’Keeffe. “I’ll live my life as a Goddess/In my own private universe/I’m spinning like a tumbleweed through town” she sings on this gorgeous folk rock song, with harmonies so delectable they would make David Cosby salivate. The last song on the album, ‘Inner Sky’ has some George Harrison-inspired guitar work and features Phillis’s daughter Harmony harmonising! It’s a fitting ending to an album on which Phillis has taken us on her journey of self discovery.

“There is only/One true saviour/You’re lookin’ at them/In the mirror/Look behind those/
Diamond eyes/There’s a rainbow/In your inner sky”

‘We Need To Be Free’ is an enchanting album that draws on diverse influences, such as the Beatles, fairytales, childhood memories and Scott Morrison! Like an alchemist, Phillis has transformed the personal and shared traumas of the past few years into a collection of songs of shimmering beauty.

Buy ‘We Need To Be Free’ HERE.

Read our interview with Jodi Phillis HERE.

Photo Credit: Tony Mott

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1 Comment

  1. […] Jodi Phillis has released a new single, ‘Little Child’ (via Cheersquad Records & Tapes,) which is off her new album ‘We Need To Be Free’. […]

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