Phogg are based out of Stockholm and seem to pull influence from all parts of the psych pop world, while retaining a very distinct and original vibe all their own. Listening to their new album you can hear influences ranging from chillwave vets Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and Neon Indian to Captured Tracks alum Craft Spells and Wild Nothing. And if you’ve made psych pop music in the last 5 or 6 years it’s hard not to be somewhat influenced or moved by Kevin Parker’s sound world. But the nice thing about these Stockholm fellows is that they’ve taken the familiar and turned it into something all their own. There’s an elegance and pristine quality to their work that most psych bands tend to avoid, opting more for an acid-burnt quality to their songs. Their newest album, Slices, continues to hone and perfect the sound they’ve been working on since the beginning. It’s an exciting and dizzying listen.
Slices was meant to be an EP that would follow directly after last year’s Zun, Stein, & Graaf, but after their original drummer left and moved to another town the band began to hang out in the studio and re-evaluate the EP idea. This led to the band writing in the studio and coming to the sound we’re presented on Slices. It’s a hopeful vibe lost in a sea of manic fear. It’s a dichotomy of sound that can be quite exhilarating.
The first thing that hits your ears on Slices is a psychedelic slice of noise and vibes with album opener “Shadows”. It’s a mix of Ariel Pink madness and Tame Impala’s impeccable sound world mixed with the Swedish psych rock band’s own brand of catchy musicality. It’s a continuation on the sonics and hallucinogenic vibe of the queasy pop vibes Phogg gave us on last year’s Zun, Stein & Graaf, but with more precision and a honed in clarity the guys have developed since that release. In other words, Slices makes good on the promise of that EP. “Boys” is carried on a woozy guitar and a groove-heavy rhythm. The song coasts along on an existential drift that is both inviting and melancholy. There might be some Tame Impala vibes just under the surface, but just enough to keep your ears perked. Phogg keep things happening on their own terms.
Single “Time Is Wild” is a breath of fresh air in the malaise of loss the guys have locked in. A wonky little pop track, “Time Is Wild” has a come hither vibe that drips with groove and dance floor intentions.
Elsewhere, “Whale Space” is sort of out there with its Barry White on quaaludes vocals and “…are Bathroom Mirrors” floats along on a space-y vibe that can be overwhelmingly beautiful at times. The close things out on the bizarre and hallucinogenic “Rod’s Goodbye”.
Phogg have made a great summer vibe album with Slices that will transcend well into fall. They took what may have been an end to some bands and turned it into something positive and cautiously hopeful.