Comprised of guys that were in the Goodnight Loving, Holy Shit and Head On Electric, three bands that we're all very different from each other sound and approach wise, the music takes you on trip through the heartland. Yes, there will be rolling hills and probably diary cows and pretty girls but this is more than a Sunday drive to go get breakfast at some place off the beaten path. The ride may end up a little bumpy though as is also the heartland of hangovers, stupid days, working weekends to pay the bills and the many ghosts that haunt the rustbelt.
Along with Byrds-esque sparkling in a rainstorm guitar jangle running a thread through most of the songs is here is the voice of Andy Kavanaugh. He's always had that knack from sounding wide eyed and cynical at the time same time. Like chasing a honey slide with a slug of with a bottle of middle shelf bourbon, there's a sweet earthiness to it that is equally soothing but has a bite. With the jittery exuberance put forth by the band, Phylums simply straight up music rooted in the vast and varied history of rock-n-roll.
Starting things off with a amalgamation of the 50s, hyperactivity and brittle fuzz, "Can't Get Through" tells the tale of getting turned away at the Canadian border while trying to cross through at Detroit and then more than touches on the trails and tribulations of being unknown band on tour. Then it lyrically takes turns into a take of the messed up state of things in general. In a lot of bands hands the dour could hang over like dark clouds. The ragged harmonies and an overall "well we can't do much about it, might as well laugh about" delivery here gives the listener the feeling that's more like sitting around having a beer with friends and listening to them getting wound up while telling a story about a day nothing at all went right.
Traces of surf music wash across along the dirt on the psych speckled love song "Bottle Of Wine", the lonely soul psychedelic noir of "Route 66" and on the solo dropped right between the folk rock standing on a trash punk foundation that's the words of warning (because it is true you can’t let your guard down when you're living on the...) on "Crummy Side Of Town."
That reverby wetness and concrete crunch also does one of its finest balancing acts on the entire record during the tremulous cadence that stomps directly underneaths the mossy "I Gotta Know." Bubblegummy organ swirl add a syrupy and woozy feeling to morning after a long night out tale of "Cold Coffee" while another story of weighing the option of a night on town, "Go Home", feels celebratory on the thoughts of staying in.
With no lack of melody packed choruses and hooks abounds that are simple enough to get toddlers singing along (the Bow-Bow-Bow-Bow on the high strung "Time Capsule" for instance) but still appealing to so called grown ups , don't be surprised if you find all the songs on this record worming into your ear. That goes twice if your like a sense of dark humor with a side of down home cooking.