South London based band Phobophobes played the Victoria in Dalston East London last Wednesday night as a part of Black Cat White Cat promotions Xmas Party event, along with Misty Miller, Shark Dentist and Blonde Bunny. Artrocker was there to review Phobophobes who easily stole the entire night with an intense and galvanising set, where at one point I felt like I was alone standing in the fall out from a nuclear winter – as Phobophobes played sonic blasts shooting out past and through me,but I somehow manged to stay standing as did the rest of the good sized and swaying crowd.
Signed to RIP Records the band recently used Pledge Music to help fund their new single release for song ‘ No Flavour ‘ for early in 2016. Variously described as and encompassing genres of psychedelic, garage, punk and post rock, Phobophobes are hard to box and each song from their set is very different from the one before it. I can hear the influences of Talking Heads, Joy Division, Lou Reed and Thurston Moore.
In the vocal delivery of lead singer Jamie Taylor as well, the unflinchingly, unblinking, steel intensity of Jim Morrison and the integrity and liquid ice of Leonard Cohen. Honest, raw, hard hitting and like a low blow to the gut – Phobophobes lyrics and melodies slice and veer constantly surprising and confidently striding through each song. Drummer Dan Lyons ( ex Fat White Family ) and keyboards player Chris OC also do some backing vocals as well as being fine instrumentalists and Elliot Nash and George Russell excel on guitars.
Phobophobes end their set with ‘ Make A Person’ – the B side of their first release with RIP records for song ‘ Advertise Your Life’; They also include new song ‘ No Flavour ‘ a darkly acerbic ironically observed offering.’ The Fun ‘ starts the set and Jamie Taylor stares
out at us, through the darkly lit room, his light eyes lit just right to catch our every uncomfortable move and reaction. Caught in the Phobophobes headlights there will be no escape – the lyrics assault and the onslaught is merciless and relentless, but also wholly
welcome in an age of throwaway paste and copy delete and replace this band are a concrete solid revelation.
They have been working on new songs but have also still manged to play a good string of shows including Liverpool’s Festival Of Psychedelia this year, sharing the bill with the the likes of Spiritualized. The songs are quite fast paced but rise and fall unexpectedly and slow down for song ‘ Negative Space ‘. At one point keyboards swirl wildly and a carnivalesque nightmare world slowly unfolds – we have no where to run and for some unfathomable reason we really don’t want to move away. Phobophobes received the much deserved applause and many new fan furtive whispers of ” who is that band?” at the set’s end. A hard act to follow and my band to watch for 2016 – Phobophobes set is over but nine songs in, they are not nearly out.
Words by Eva Earwaker
Photos by Keira Cullinane