Phlask come back with an EP that makes you yearn for a time when all you cared about was Sensible Soccer and staying out late on the weekends
Last year California’s Phlask released a series of singles that made everyone at thisyearinmusic sit up and take notice. They were brilliant, but in an outsider art kind of way. Each song had the feeling of a found object, that had been subverted to a purpose that wasn’t originally thought of when it was designed and built. The music was a hybrid of rock, but with elements of noise, comedy and jazz through in for good measure. Now they’ve returned and their new EP, 40%, shows that the best is yet to come!
Timid is anything but its title. Instead of unassuming muzak, what we get is a barrage of feedback and drum beats. Paul Bunyan sounds like the Beach Boys having a bash at garage rock. The pop hooks are there, but everything has been doused in a lo-fi charm that belies its overall punch. Monday Patchouli is the sound of a band experimenting, and improvising, with guitar pedals. There is a regimented beat holding everything together, but the effects give everything a watery, filmy, vibe and ends with a Withnail & I sample. What’s not to love?
Earthworm is the standout track on the EP. Kicking off with a Bill Hicks samples, it quickly progresses into a rhythmic guitar riff, before some absurdist lyrics remind us that the world is fun and full of wonder. The beat it pounding and keeps everything moving forward while the music gets filled with more and more animosity and venom. The final track, Hair, is a future shoegazing classic. Spiraling guitars engulf you while effects and synths give you a feeling of moving before a malevolent guitar kicks in and reminds you that easy listening this is not!
What 40% proves is that Phlask are not one trick pony’s. They are very capable of delivering an EP that is as diverse as it is terrifying. They are the new Butthole Surfers, but mixed a retro pop sheen and that gif you saw today and loved.