Phil Siemers © Amelie Siegmund
He took a good two years for his second album - and what two years they were! A worldwide pandemic, social division even into circles of friends, conflagrations and floods, increasing readiness for violence up to war in Europe ... these are only the tips of some massive icebergs. For all of us was and is: "Everything gray, Marleen, stand in the rain, every drop hits you hard," as it says in the melancholy title track of the new long player. But also: "I'll stay here, Marleen, if you want, we can talk. I won't let you go down." Exhaustion and hope, gloom and glow, blues and pop are not swings of a pendulum on "Marleen," but stand side by side. In that sense, it's a stunningly contemporary, topical album for these contradictory times.
The twenty-eight months between the debut "Who If Not Now" and today meant a lot of restriction, but Phil Siemers has managed to turn the forced test of patience into an exercise in patience. He has used the unexpectedly gained time and started a musical and lyrical journey of exploration in his own small studio, thrown back on himself. He circumvented the risk of egomaniacal navel-gazing by repeatedly bringing in guests: he wrote most of the lyrics together with Katharina Müller, some with other co-authors. And even if he recorded the original instrumental tracks himself, the titles went on the road when encounters finally became possible again. Partly in the 70s charm breathing Granny's House, partly in the studio of his producer Sven Bünger contributed a good dozen guest musicians - such as multi-instrumentalist Lars Ehrhardt, drummers Timon Schempp, Lucas Kochbeck, Alexander Klauck and Silvan Strauss, bassist Oliver Karstens, keyboardists Markus Schröder, Andre Haaf and Markus Kuczewski or violinist, violist and cellist Anne de Wolff - instrumental tracks, ideas and influences. Miriam Demissie lent her backing vocals to several songs, and with Lina Maly Phil Siemers sang the duet "Beim Lügen" that gets under your skin, in which he has to realize: "Wir geh'n im Kreis und geh'n zu weit, uns geht die Liebe aus."
The music of Phil Siemers and also his lyrics have gained a great breadth, have grown in height and have taken root in the depths. They were only able to do so because he tried out, rejected and questioned many things with a lot of the patience already mentioned - until it really felt just right. And this patience, this taking one's time, is also a kind of "counter-design" to the hectic pace and short-livedness, to the click-impulse overkill of the present. After all, the icebergs are coming so close because we are all constantly trying to keep our feet on the ground in the midst of a whirlwind of short, fast information bites.
on the ground.
Musically anchored in the handmade, analog, in soul, without freezing there, and lyrically located in the present of young people, without falling into social media staccato - these are not contradictions, but so shimmers the colorful spectrum of "Marleen".
Phil Siemers merges in lyrics like "The shitty thing about fate remains: It comes even when you don't believe in it" or "How do you win this game that you lose when you feel something?" detached laconism with genuine sadness and at the same time the outlook on a possible turn for the better at any time. Perhaps the only sincere, but at least a very moving way to deal with the difficult today.