Some early blog reviews for Arrivals and Departures:
BILL COPELAND MUSIC NEWS
“Boston musician Phil Ayoub has a sound that can go national. Ayoub’s new sophomore CD Arrivals And Departures is marked by his quirky vocals and distinct jangly guitar sound...Sonic structures, vocal delivery, and honest lyrics all function on a high level.
Ayoub, like a great playwright, can set the scene, controlling the characters‘ range of emotions by hinting at the kind of coping skills they use with each other, making room for the viewer to “get“ what is going on between them.
Ayoub accomplishes much in one song by contrasting upbeat music with unhappy feelings in his words…[but] …as a composer, Ayoub can also get his message across without a hard-charging beat and soaring atmospherics…By the time you finish listening to the hidden bonus track, you’ll think there is nothing Ayoub can’t do with his sound and that there are no limits to how far he can go with is music.”
Link to full review here: http://www.billcopelandmusicnews.com/2011/04/phil-ayoub-scores-big-on-sophomore-cd-arrivals-and-departures/
THE MUSE’S MUSE
“…well crafted and consistent across the board…The writing, playing and singing abilities of Ayoub and his band are rock solid, the melodies and harmonies are masterful, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with clever wit and rich conventional wisdom and messages full of hope. Last but not least the vocal presence and persona of Ayoub is something that leaves a lasting impression…”
Link to full review here: http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-philayoub-arrivals.html
"Phil Ayoub is one of the best New England songwriters you've never heard of. He has a unique talent of bringing everyday occurrences to life with color and clarity. His new album Arrivals and Departures is a stellar collection of songs that highlight his keen eye for observation as well as his superb vocals...an outstanding sophomore effort that shows off his growth as a songwriter...nothing short of musical brilliance."
“..it's the kind of bright, radio-friendly pop/rock Ayoub gave us the first time around. Standouts include…"Get Out (Live a Little, Love a Lot)", one of the catchiest odes to getting out and seeing live music ever written; the gorgeous nostalgia-for-the-70s ballad "Basement"…Ayoub's an artist deserving of a wider audience, and here's hoping Arrivals and Departures marks his arrival.”
Click link for full review:
This includes the phrase "he's also handsome as heck." Yeah, this is DEFINITELY Phil's favorite review of all time!!! (Not to mentioned things like "Crystal clear pop with style.") Click the link for the full review...
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
“Filled with 14 songs of finely crafted singer/songwriter tunes that run the gamut from Americana to folk to rock n roll, Arrivals and Departures features several songs that could help Ayoub make the jump to the next level of name recognition.”
“Phil Ayoub keeps impressing people… Ayoub doesn't seem like the consummate front man. His easy going style would seem at odds with the dynamics of a rock n roll star, but Ayoub delivers each song with a quiet internal intensity that brings the moments, places and people he tells about to life before your eyes. Add to that a penchant for creating melodies and arrangements that captivate the mind and you have a distinctive recipe for success. Arrivals and Departures perhaps doesn't hit on every song, but the material that hits home is so well crafted and performed you won't want to put the album down. Arrivals and Departures is an essential album from an artist who is only getting better and better with time.”
Click link for full review:
THE INDEPENDENT MUSIC SCENE
“Ayoub’s songwriting is detailed, and yet straight to the point…it is music that touches the listener. Ayoub shows signs of being a great artist because he is able to display the spectrum of the human experience.”
Click link for full review:
Press for Schoolbus Window Paper Heart:
Featured in Pollstar Magazine's "Gigs & Bytes" column, March 6, 2006 issue.
Featured in Providence Monthly (RI) magazine, February 2007.
Featured in The Daily Record (NJ), February 2007.
Schoolbus Window Paper Heart chosen as Metronome Magazine's top 5 discs, March 2006, and featured on the cover of the April 2006 issue.
Reviews for Schoolbus Window Paper Heart:
"He has a fan club and an MBA, which might not make all that much sense. But if you listen to Phil Ayoub, you can hear the two opposing qualities in his music: It’s keen and endearing, witty as well as likable."
"Ayoub quit his job in a big investment bank in Boston to concentrate on a career in music. While you might not call that a “smart” move, Phil is definitely following his heart, and his heart is taking him to all the right places."
"Ayoub writes empathically, with sensitivity and intelligence….he must be doing something right."
"Phil Ayoub’s debut solo record, Schoolbus Window Paper Heart, shows off a mature modern-rock songwriting style, with strong performances and big-time production. His influences are classic, and he lives up to them."
“'There was something immediately appealing about his style of writing, and his voice really,' says Bradshaw, who now lives in Franklin, Mass. 'I like lyrics, and I found that his lyrics weren’t always obvious, which is a good thing for me. They alluded to things, but didn’t make it obvious, so you really had to make your own story.'"
"The result is a radio-ready sound for radio-ready songs. 'I’m very proud of that record, really,' Bradshaw says."
-The Providence Journal
"Most of these songs could be thrown immediately into rotation on 92.9FM WBOS [Boston, MA]...above-average songwriting...You'll hear it-or something like it-on the radio soon enough..."
"Ayoub's lyrics are heartfelt and meaningful…memorable melodies and acoustic pop hooks…an amazing album. Ayoub's brand of "grad-school rock" is comparable to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Petty."
-Indie In-Tune Magazine
"A collection of radio-friendly pop-rock tunes that span subjects ranging from relationships to social commentary...Infused by Ayoub's canny songwriting, masterful keyboard tracks from Tim Bradshaw and drumming from Ed Toth, 'Schoolbus Window Paper Heart' is filled with potent hooks and evocative lyrics..."
"...Ayoub isn't about to let listeners off with an earful of cotton candy, however, and uses his observational skills and sense of irony to invade unexplored songwriting territory. 'Scenes from An American Highway Rest Stop' is what Simon and Garfunkel would have seen if their bus had stopped on the way to 'look for America.' And '4th District Court of Bristol County,' which occupies a hidden track on the record, tells of Ayoub's own bizarre experiences there as a juror."
-The Sun Chronicle
SUN CHRONICLE'S LAST-MINUTE GIFT IDEAS
"Phil Ayoub, whose smart lyrics and accessible tunes have radio-friendly stamped on their backsides and whose virtuosity ought to guarantee consideration at next year's Boston Music Awards."
"Phil Ayoub has an MBA degree. He also has some kind of ear for commercial pop-rock melodies and intelligent lyrics. Ayoub's first solo release, 'Schoolbus Window Paper Heart,' is filled with radio-friendly grooves and themes that range from the 9-11 nightmare to carefree romance....[Previous band] Riverside Train's run stopped somewhere short of major music industry success for Ayoub. 'Schoolbus Window Paper Heart' could change all that."
-The Sun Chronicle
"...He wears his heart on his sleeve and his songs are as truthful and honest as they come...clever lyrics, solid musicianship...The songs wear their influences on their sleeves, from the cocky barroom wisdom of Bono, the social commentary and good ole rock 'n' roll punch of Bruce Springsteen and the wordsmith master, Bob Dylan. The album shines brightest for the up-tempo numbers like "No Heart Ache" and "4th District of Bristol Country" (hidden track #14), but that shouldn't take anything away from slower alt-country numbers like "White Feather"...a definite keeper."
-The Noise Magazine (September 2006)
METRONOME MAGAZINE'S TOP5 RECORDS, MARCH 2006
"...smartly penned songs filled with a sparkling cascade of instrumentation, mesmerizing rhythms and Ayoub's excellent vocals...”
"...filled with poignant songwriting..."
“Radio friendly songs include the commanding album opener "White Feather," "Carnival Days," the Springsteen infused "River To Ocean," "No Heartache," "If I Walk Down Her Path," and the cool hidden track (and our favorite) "4th District Court of Bristol County."
“Phil Ayoub's Schoolbus Window Paper Heart was one of my more recent pleasant surprises, having picked it up over the holidays. The record was produced by one of David Gray's sidemen, but frankly it's better than any David Gray record I've heard. This is great singer-songwriter stuff, in many places worthy of my holy trinity of Josh Rouse, David Mead and Freedy Johnston. The standout track, "River to Ocean", though, is jangly power pop bliss reminiscent of Michael Carpenter. There's hardly a weak track in the batch on this one.”
BLOGCRITICS BAND OF THE WEEK, NOVEMBER 2006
“Ayoub’s extraordinary ability to paint a deeply stirring, sweetly poignant picture with emotive, insightfut lyrics and pure natural music, combined with Bradshaw’s time-earned experience and production know- how, have put a smooth polish on Ayoub’s personal, frequently humorous thoughts and experiences. This amazing debut album is filled with beautiful, deep, often playful lyrics, acoustic guitar, jangly synth and of course, Ayoub’s earthy, gentle, sensual vocals.”
“…with the strong American music influences of Ayoub and the Brit Rock influences of Bradshaw. This accidental partnership has created a beautiful, deep, sometimes funny, soothing album filled with acoustic guitar, jangly synth and emotive, insightful lyrics…”
“…Ayoub’s extraordinary ability to paint a clear, poignant picture in song and his love of pure natural music combine to lead the listener through his personal, frequently humorous thoughts and experiences...”
“…Although produced and, in some places co-written, by a David Gray-ite, this album is easily better than anything Gray has done and has a much stronger rock and pop flavour…”
“…Ayoub is a deep-thinking, deep-feeling… funny, charismatic and urbane man, ….relaxed and friendly...Schoolbus Window Paper Heart is filled with poignant, honest romantic lyrics and simple melodies coupled with pop hooks that will keep you hooked from the first track to the ironically funny secret final track...”
"Ayoub handles the singer-songwriter style well; the songs are interestingly arranged and the lyrics are reflective. I particularly like the opening track, "White Feather," with its Dylanesque harmonica and elec- tric guitar. The song "Goodnight Kiss" evokes Harvest Moon-era Neil Young. And of course I have to take note of the production...both the arrangements and the mix, are top-notch."
-The Noise Magazine (May 2006)
"Ayoub shows off smart lyrics, radio-friendly sound on debut CD...reminiscent of Dylan."
-The Valley Breeze
"A sensational debut album."
"The name Phil Ayoub is not a household name. Yet, that is....Ayoub has created a stellar debut album; an album that is likely to get his music into the stereos of more and more people as they become familiar with him and his music...musically rich, vocally strong...Not your everyday debut album."
"Schoolbus Window Paper Heart is a spectacular debut album that deserves to be purchased and listened to. While many debut albums might find their way to the CD player only once or twice, Phil Ayoub has created an album that very well could become a regular guest..."
(w/former band Riverside Train):
"If your tastes include The Black Crowes and/or Three Doors Down, get the debut disc of a great new band, Riverside Train. Try their web site. You will not be disappointed."
-Peter Gammons, ESPN.com
"Philip, this is really really good. We're very proud and we love you."