Label: Modern Sky
Released: 25th June 2021
Since beckoning listeners into ‘The Never Never’ with their breakout third single in 2017, Phobophobes have risen from their South London roots to become one of the UK’s leading psych-fuelled entities. Their warped soundscapes continue to impress, and for their second album, there’s no sense of normality in these twisted, rapturous creations that somehow playful as they drag those listening through a dark fantasy like no other.
The seductive yet menacing opener ‘Hollow Body Boy’ is an indicative slice of what’s to come, with modulated melodies swirling away as they back up that unnerving, measured vocal delivery. Within all the darkness is a constant twist of humour and fun, as can be found in the jauntiness of ‘Blind Muscle’, which feels a polar opposite to the track that precedes it – a song much more suited to sharing with the masses. There’s even space for three-chord ‘ballad’ ‘I Mean It All’, which delicately details a somewhat melancholic take on a failed new love.
Life, loss and wider musings on the human condition and society as a whole are considered by the tantric outfit as they make the most of the studio tools at their disposal to manufacture sounds that feel unearthly, or perhaps more accurately as if they were created from somewhere considerably close to the Earth’s molten centre.
Phobophobes consistently have an impressive ability to unsettle the listener, and recent line-up changes haven’t deterred them from their mystic journey into musical wizardry. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, for if one does, they might just miss the greater artistic vision he creates with tumbling organs, tainted riffs and a voice that routinely cuts to the very core.