Sunday 4 June 2017

PHE ~ PHE .... review

"Making music while having a beer and a laugh" is the statement of intent from Phe a band formed in Helmond, The Netherlands 2010 whose penchant for jamming fuzz drenched desert grooves flecked with psych, hard rock and bluesy elements can be heard on their debut album, the simply titled "Phe".

First track "Heaven's Hell" bursts into life on chugging palm muted desert/stoner riff embellished with occasional curly licks and fills complimented by thrumming bass lines and solid, tight drumming. Over these sand blasted grooves of desert splendour distinctive throaty vocals are delivered, the singers grainy, slightly hoarse but powerful tones a perfect match for the equally grainy music surrounding them.
"Hide" follows it's low, slow and heavy doom-like opening refrain gradually dropping away leaving the bass and drums to carry the groove beneath a superbly delivered vocal performance which the guitarist embellishes with reverb soaked guitar colouring.
"Grow Old" treads a similar path to the previous track, restrained atmospheric grooves sitting beneath strongly delivered vocals that sporadically burst into life on a wave of heavily fuzzed desert riffage.
"Rage Down" finds Phe introducing into their  grooves subtle eastern edged motifs and themes, motifs and themes that are not only reflected in the guitars exotic Arabian feeling refrains but also in the songs  excellently executed vocal delivery and structure.
"Up On The Mountain" blends  alt/grunge like aesthetics into a groove that, in places, also travels into both blues and doom territories. Beneath a swathe of big resonating riffage and pulverising rhythms a mix of gritty stoner roar and gothic doom-like mellowness is delivered vocally giving the song a huge dark atmospheric feel that then segues, via a brief pause, into a big heavy psych blues jam with guitar wailing banshee-like over a backdrop of grizzled bass a tumultuous percussion.

If you like your desert grooves wrapped in a blanket of heavy fuzz tied up with a ribbon of bluesy swagger then "Phe" will tick all your boxes and is most definitely an album you should check out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

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