Album Review of

Written by Robert Silverstein
December 19, 2022 - 4:44pm EST
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The 2020 album by Zach Phillips, The Wine Of Youth made quite a favorable impression on eager ears and in 2022, he follows it up with Goddaughters. As was the case on The Wine Of Youth, the new album is a co-venture between Zach and co-producer / multi-instrumentalist Gregg Montante and they are joined by Bobby Cressey on keyboards. Compared with The Wine Of Youth, the 12-track, 41-minute Goddaughters rocks even harder than before; its emphasis on choice pop music influences are distilled into a truly contemporary Americana rock album. In fact, there’s a fresh energy here coupled with an even more focused sound.

One could easily cite the 1960s folk-rock phenomenon yet, Goddaughters sounds equally inspired by early 1990s Roger McGuinn and Marshall Crenshaw meets Tom Petty circa 1988. As a guitarist, lead vocalist and main composer, Zach is firing on all cylinders here and the drumming, bass, guitars and more from Gregg Montante sounds totally in-sync with Zach’s sonic plans. An album that improves with repeated spins, Goddaughters features mind-blowing artwork that really catches the eye.

Highlights are as numerous as the tracks themselves, including the lead-off song "Cassiopeia"; a short but sweet instrumental overture that soon breaks into the album’s centerpiece track called “Worshippers”. A curious, secular-themed song that compares humans to ‘worshippers’, those devoted to their mission in life; not just music and for the most part is non-religious. Key to the sound of “Worshippers” is its breathtaking melody and expert musicianship. Whatever message you take away from this track, its majestic imprint is undeniable.

“Worshippers” leads us into track three called “New Star”. Zach has been compared to a “rock poet” and on this track he really lives up to that depiction. In fact, these first three tracks on Goddaughters, taken as a whole, form a kind of uber-meaningful rock suite that you will find yourself returning to time and again.

While just singling out the first three tracks as a superb intro, the entire album sizzles with a solid rock energy and the expert musicianship by Zach, Gregg Montante and Bobby Cressey is first rate throughout Goddaughters. Things slow down a bit on the title track, yet the song “Goddaughters” still retains a magical glow fortified by unforgettable lyrics. 

The album reaches its zenith on “Courtesy Of A True God”, a praiseworthy number that speaks of survival and seeking God-like fortification in these times of troubles on turbulent seas. Featuring rock-solid tracks to deeper introspective insights on how to make it through rough times, Goddaughters is a pivital moment in the career of Zach Phillips.