New Audio: Stockholm’s Phogg Releases a Deceptively Upbeat and Trippy New Single

Stockholm-based psych act Phogg released their full-length debut Slices to critical praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere — with critics comparing their sound to the likes of to Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their highly-anticipated sophomore album Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh, an album about “robots that take over the world,” in 2019.

If you were alive and coherent, last year may have been among the most difficult you’ve experienced in recent memory — and much like everyone else, 2020 was difficult for the members of the acclaimed Stockholm psych rock act: Riding high from the critical reception of their sophomore album, the band began the ambitious challenge of workin on two different albums simultaneously with the goal of working on each in parallel — and then releasing them at the same time. Attempting to record two albums at the same time wound up being a terrible decision, with the band experiencing extreme burn-out and fatigue.

During that period, the members of the band went through a deep existential crisis, which resulted in the band having deep-seated philosophical questions. “What does it really mean to be a rock band these days? Does anything matter?” The band writes in a statement. “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 third album, The Sharkness is slated for an April 16, 2021 release through Ouyee Bayou Records, and the album’s material is influenced by the harrowing events and emotions of the pandemic, the band’s existential crises and heartbreak — most of the band’s members have had long-term relationships split up during the same time, as well.

Last year, I wrote about “Corme (Rental Palace),” a meditative instrumental jam with surf rock accents, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric and twinkling key and a propulsive rhythm section before turning into a breakneck gallop around the song’s second half. While being one of the few instrumental tracks in their growing catalog, it may be among the most brooding yet heartfelt. The Sharkness‘ fourth and latest single, album title track “Sharkness” is a trippy and deceptively upbeat song featuring looping and shimmering synth arpeggios, a propulsive, motorik-like groove and a guest spot from vocalist Indrielle, who contributes her ethereal vocals.

But as the band explains in press notes, the overall vibe of the song is much darker: “’Sharkness’, the title track of our new album, came to be while recording the album. ‘Sharkness’ means to hold a kind of self-destructive self-preservation drive. To navigate through difficulties and hardships. To push down instincts of worries and prance forward in life. This is to hold Sharkness.”