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Phosphene - Any Last Words

Phosphene - CD Review
Any Last Words


CD Info
Release Year: 2014
No. of Tracks: 10 tracks
Record Label: Phosphene


If you are a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fan, you can probably remember the angst-ridden music performances, playing at Sunnyvale's favorite nightclub for teens, during key emotional sequences in that show. Many of Phosphene’s song would be a perfect fit for that show. I can just imagine how much more intense certain emotional scenes from Season Six of Buffy would have been, if Phosphene were to have existed during the Buffy era.

Why start a music review by painting a scene from a television show that dates from the late nineties? Well, I feel that this description more than aptly describes the mood and tension put forward by indie band Phosphene’s music.

As I listened to the album, every song was a fragmented memento of the different emotions and hardships of romantic love. From the outset of the album, the first song, “Hold Me Down,” was where I first became aware of the roughness sound, untrammeled by any technical modifications. There is a certain sterility in much of mainstream music today; a certain squeaky-clean, polished quality that sometimes destroys the rough-edged emotions that originally lay intact within the original, untampered recording. ”Hold Me Down” preserves that rough, semi-scratchy sound, allowing the listener to feel like they are being plunged headfirst into the intense waves of emotion. This swell of emotions is produced skillfully by the hard-rock, grunge-ish sound that dominates the sound of each track on this album.

Imagine yourself in a dimly-lighted nightclub on a lazy Friday evening, with a few vodkas under your belt? Through the drunken haze, you can hear Jeni’s vibrant, assertive vocals, belting out “Hold Me Down,” or dozens of other painstaking, well-worded phrases from the dozens of other emotionally-fueled songs on this album. Naturally enough, your mind vaguely relates to the tension of the songs, and you begin to feel that tense, anxiety-ridden memory in your mind become instantaneously soothed by song’s imploring words that have the soft-spoken undertone of-I’ve been through this, before. Believe me, you’ll be alright!

Of course, this entire album has that mystical power of opening the emotional floodgates of your mind, whether sober, tipsy, or completely wasted. I hope this review is not serving the purpose of implicitly advocating alcoholism. For aesthetic purposes, it is the best way to describe the genre that Phosphenes’ music fits into. This sub-genre of rock- angst-ridden, grunge rock- can be easily defined, by just lazily saying that the band sounds a smidge like Halestorm. For a moment there, I was even thinking how fucking awesome it would be to see a collaborative effort between Jeni and Lzzy Hale (lead vocalist of Halestorm), who both have my favorite type of female alto voice with a dash of badassery.

Hailing from Chicago, I have to wonder whether this impressive band plays at any nightclubs in the area. How many hearts of the drunken heart-broken and lovelorn has this band touched deeply, and helped to heal after a particularly rough patch in their life? Just how many lifted their glasses, full of foamy beer, before the band played the somber, though fierce “Jekyll And Hyde.” Did any of the club’s patrons, before falling asleep into a drunken stupor, still hear the harsh guitar vocals, the pattering beat of the drum, and the wailing vocals of Jeni lingering in their semi-detached mind?

Sure, the roughness of the sound might dissuade some people from considering this band. To be fair, some of the songs might have sounded better with a bit more polish. Yet, I also feel that it might have hindered the rare beauty of a sound that has never been tampered with in any way- that is the sound that made me persistently listen to this band’s first with great enthusiasm. It is the sound that would drive any writer’s imagination wild with its intense,unbridled release of emotional angst in nearly every song. I sense that this band will have a very promising musical career, and their sound at this early stage already reminds me of some of Avenged Sevenfold’s early music. If you find yourself in the mood for a more organic, angst-ridden hard-rock sound, you should really try some of Phosphenes’ music.