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The Phenoms - Home Brain Surgery Kit (Cover Artwork)

The Phenoms

The Phenoms: Home Brain Surgery KitHome Brain Surgery Kit (2005)
Beercan

Reviewer Rating: 1.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Phenoms, who have been tearing around the Chicago scene since 2001, play simplistic bar-friendly punk ripped straight out of the punk rock textbook. They play fast as the Dead Kennedys, sloppier than classic Damned and attempt the attitude of the Sex Pistols. Problem is, lots of bands do this. .
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The Phenoms, who have been tearing around the Chicago scene since 2001, play simplistic bar-friendly punk ripped straight out of the punk rock textbook. They play fast as the Dead Kennedys, sloppier than classic Damned and attempt the attitude of the Sex Pistols. Problem is, lots of bands do this.

You could walk into a dive punk rock bar in any city (I'm thinking of The Mutiny when it comes to Chicago) and see a band like this. I'm sure most of you have experienced this with some random punk band -- you didn't come to see the band, but you enjoy it at the time, perhaps with the help of a few drinks...you watch the young punks in the crowd crack skulls, and you tap your foot and perhaps throw a fist. But when the set is over, you don't even consider buying a CD because you know it was an ??in-the-moment' kinda thing, or that they're a band that you need to see and not just hear. I lived in Chicago my life before moving to Indiana last year, and I don't recall the Phenoms. There's a good chance I saw them at some point, but maybe they just did not make a lasting impression.

I'm sure they are fun as hell to see live because they seem like a rowdy bunch. But here on Home Brain Surgery Kit, it's very pedestrian sounding. I love the classic punk rock sound, but it's been 30 years since the Ramones' first album was released and the Damned dropped the first UK punk single "New Rose," so as a band still playing that angle verbatim, you need some extra hook, or you need to do it really well.

These guys don't have much to hook you besides their energy, evident on the blistering "Lies, Lies, Lies" (similar to "Neat Neat Neat" in more than name alone). And I wouldn't say they do it really well either, as the music's dynamics and style remain pretty stagnant throughout the record and the vocals don't have the bubblegum of a Joey Ramone or the captivating attitude of a Johnny Rotten. The lyrics are run-of-the-mill punk too, and most of the time, like on "The Fringe Benefits of Being on the Fringes of a Fringe Society" you'll be thankful you can't understand the words.

"Please, Please, Please Don't" is decent, a revved-up old time rock'n'roll tune about the crummy pay and situations local bands tend to endure. The slightly swinging "Part of Deal" has one of the few memorable melodies, along with some nice "yeah yeah"s to finish it off. The one other song that sticks out is the ZZ Top cover "Heard It on the X."

Their website makes it seem as though the Phenoms are hanging it up in the near future, or they may have already. While I would never say ??good riddance' to a hard-working band and I wish the best of luck to the Phenom guys, the truth is that there are plenty more where that came from, and plenty worse than this.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
JustinUCR (August 16, 2006)

this record smokes. it was recorded in one take.

RIP Phenoms.

also, another band on the Pegboy Tribute CD I released...
http://interpunk.com/item.cfm?Item=63987&

theOneTrueBill (August 15, 2006)

I love these guys and it sucks that they're breaking up. The one time I was able to catch them they played an absolutly explosive set, but everything since then has been a 21 show.

I have to disagree with the reviewer obviously. I love this album. Their first one was decent but seemed like it was lacking a raw feeling. They perfected their craft with this one.

SlowStupidHungry (August 15, 2006)

I haven't heard much by these guys, but don't care for the "honky" style of this guy's voice. I don't think this kind of music is irrelevant or should be upgraded and played "impeccably" just because it's an old style. I'm all for sloppiness. With this music, it's about being entertaining.

That's why Be Your Own Pet rule over this.

That said, I'd rather listen to these guys than the best emo band going or the Lawrence Arms.

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