Even though they are currently touring with the much-hyped Foxygen, it’s probably a reality that THE PHEROMOANS won’t become a big favorite with American Spotify listeners anytime soon. The lack of defined production or professionalism here just throws too much of a curve-ball for any mass college-rock appeal–despite the UK-based group’s abundance of lyrical skill, atmosphere, song-craft and very possibly magic. What does it really take, you know?
Singer Russell Walker is your tour-guide on the band’s latest HEARTS OF GOLD (released this past July on Upset the Rhythm) as he monotones with some preoccupation through an inspired and lyrically-dense collection of songs that are simultaneously hazy and full of curious character. Under the bubble of a creative spring that seemingly can’t be turned off, the band are free to fumble in the dark like drunks, creating little homes for Walker’s words where ever they might be found.
Working from primarily an early 80’s post-punk/amateur-rock template (Birthday Party, the Clean, etc–but with more range than either of those groups put out on a single record), the Pheromoans immediately distinguish their sound on HEARTS OF GOLD with the beautiful blending of hardware store guitars into chords so ingenious that they possibly couldn’t be intended by these knuckleheads, as well as a bass that can barely be pawed at (despite the near soulful perfection of the bass-lines), and clueless keyboards that dance across the arrangements from dream-pop choir sounds to buzzing rhythmic pulses like some kind of secret ingredient that can’t bother to be remembered. That doesn’t even bring up their songwriting, which sticks unidentified UFOs like Asian scales and minor dirges into the mix–cleverly placing right-place-right-time naivete and atmospheric sounds aplenty in the same sphere.
Basically, they are lucky to be this good. Bastards. Song after song.