Phylums - Phylum Phyloid (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Phylum Phyloid (2015)

Dirt Nap Records

Phylum Phyloid, the debut album of Phylums, opens with a song about said band not even able to get across to the border to play a dingy basement in Canada of all places - so they're back to the indignities of dingy American basements! "Can't Get Through" throws us right into who these guys are: trashy goofballs who actually learned to play years ago but know they're better off (or maybe just stuck) with the latest new punk house as a venue. Phylums are a goofy, fun band lightly showered in reverb and an obvious schooling in surf rock, garage punk, and the Nuggets comps.

And while there are tons of bands aping these influences and obsessively copping the organ riff from ? And the Mysterians ("Route 66") the songs here really do have a sense of sticky melody and changing dynamics. "IC3D" for example has a perfect interplay of charging riffs, downsliding breakdown and wah-wah guitar heroics, and the squawking nasal adolescent vocals of the Exploding Hearts and King Tuff. The lyrics are also pretty bleak, like the blackly funny closer "Go Home", the chorus exhorting the last drunk slob to take off from the dive bar and "Go home, go home/there's nothing for you here/your bed is so near." Of course the narrator of "The Crummy Side of Town" is stuck there after dark, stuck to "Cry about love/and laugh about pain". The songs pay tribute to Talk Talk, the Cramps, the Surfaris, and other garbage idols but they're as stuck in ennui and sexual frustration as they are; the only thing to do is laugh about it and write a few fast songs.

If you want a poppy, sometimes nasty (but mostly catchy) garage band who're good for a drunk sing-along or two then this is your new favorite album. Phylum Phyloid is definitely worth a few listens, especially in a car armed with 40's and headed for the nearest show. You might feel guilty spitting along to the Daltrey-evoking "Stutter Bug", but then you'll shrug and do it anyway.