With the release of 2018’s full-length debut Slices, the Stockholm-based psych act Phogg quickly established a buzz-worthy sound that critics across Scandinavia and elsewhere compared to Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Building upon a growing profile, last year’s sophomore album Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh, an album about “robots that take over the world,” featured two attention grabbing singles:
- “Three Shirts:” a motorik-groove driven single that to my ears brings TOY‘s Join the Dots and Primal Scream‘s Evil Heat to mind.
- “Pearls:” an expansive and lysergic track that’s one part explosive psych rock freak out ripper and one part melodic and jangling guitar pop held together by a sinuous and propulsive groove.
Much like everyone else, 2020 has been a difficult year for the members of Phogg. Riding high from the critical reception of their sophomore album, the band began the ambitious challenge of working on two different albums simultaneously with the goal of working on each album in parallel — and then releasing them at the same time. But as the old saying goes: “The best laid plans of mice and men go awry.” Recording two different albums at the same time, wound up being a terrible decision with the band experiencing burn out and fatigue. And for a period of time, the band sort of floated around with no direction and no goal, waiting until their creative instincts returned.
During that the period, the band had deep-seated philosophical questions that tied into their own creative process. “What does it really mean to be a rock band these days? Does anything even matter? The legendary days of rock have faded into the ruthless fart of the pandemic era. It’s not fun to make songs about the end times when you are in the middle of it.”
Phogg’s forthcoming third album The Sharkness is informed by and influenced by the harrowing events and emotions of the pandemic, an existential crisis and a recent heartbreak. The Sharkness‘ latest single “Corme (Rental Palace)” is a brooding yet meditative instrumental jam centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric and twinkling keys, a propulsive rhythm section before turning into a gallop towards the song’s last half. Some dexterous guitar work darts in and out of the song’s propulsive rhythm, giving the song a subtle surf rock air. Interestingly, the track may be among the most brooding yet heartfelt tracks of their growing catalog.