Tuesday, 27 August 2013

We PHOPPED Something In The Water

We PHOPPED Something In The Water
Various Artists
Philophobia Music
Philophobia Music is now in its 6th year of nurturing, supporting, recording and releasing music by Wakefield artists. Although I have only been a Wakefield citizen for the past four years I have become aware of both the label and the bands associated with it. Purchasing the odd release and seeing the artists live have been two of the great pleasures of being part of the City. This compilation album, however, is my first real exposure to the quality and breadth of the local music scene.

Featuring 20 bands that are either on, or have been released by the label, the album showcases the sound of this fine City.

Kicking off with Runaround Kids I Can’t Help Myself, boisterous and tender by turns, before moving on to Piskie Sits glorious Viktoria Pizen the album gets off to dream start. And it doesn’t let up for a second.

It is a little unfair on some of the artists to pick other highlights from an album that frankly, does not have a low point…… but I’m going to do it anyway.

From Buen Chico’s tight and catchy Love’s Just A Feeling to the lurching beautiful howl that is The Spills, Friends With Girls. From the heartbreaking beauty of Mi Mye’s Sometimes Lifes Cool, to the driving pop of We Are Losers singing Salt Lips. The quality of the music is relentless and up to now I have only motioned 6 of the bands on show. In fact given the quality of the bands I have not mentioned I feel a slight embarrassment that they have not been included in the review. So here goes:

Fur Blend – Ocean
Protectors – Ubelter
SUGGS – Pregnant
Jack Wynn – Feel anything
Shake Your Halo Down – Home it’s not the heart
SWORDS – Bonehead
Tiny Planets – Finalised
Michael Ainsley Band – Miss most mornings
The Do’s – Hard to see
Yard Wars – Haunted Stadiums
One Day after School – C/Beam
Imp – Elegant man, Elephant woman
Clandestines – You fell, you fell, you fell
St. Gregory Orange – Vacancies

All of you take a bow. No really, go on…. That’s better. You have all been my soundtrack to the last few weeks and it has been a joy.
Comparing an up and coming band with an already established band can present any reviewer with a bit of a dilemma. Its benefit is that it can provide shorthand to the sound and genre of the band. On the other hand it gives a false impression that the band is simply copying the already established act.

So what do the bands recorded and championed by Philophobia Music sound like? The quote I have heard most goes something like “Wakefield bands all sound like Pavement”. You will probably have heard a version of this untruth over the years. If you are going to be influence by a band Pavement is a pretty good choice and although there are echoes of them on this album that is all it amounts to. As I listened to the music I made a mental list of the bands and genres I could hear the influence of. Here goes Nirvana, Dead Kennedy’s, The Lemonheads, 80’s Electro Pop, Bruce Springsteen (really!) Arab Strap. The list goes on but it is only helpful in illustrating the diversity of the music presented on this album.

As well as the fine music on show there is also a hint at the humour that the local scene holds. Two examples of this are the gloriously entitled Elegant Man, Elephant Women (Imp) and the line; “I miss you most in the morning; I miss most mornings” from The Michael Ainsley Band.  

I made my way to Wakefield and its music from a cultural desert of a town which I will not mention for fear of offending its good citizens. So here is something about the local music scene that you either know or take for granted. It is diverse, dynamic, original and is an important cultural cornerstone of the City.

This is a fine, fine album and a wonderful showcase for the local music scene as I have come to discover it.

Philophobia Music is now in its 6th year of nurturing, supporting, recording and releasing music by Wakefield artists and it is hard to imagine Wakefield music without PM being a key part of the jigsaw. You have probably heard of most or all of the bands listed above and there are at least two reasons for that:

  1. They are any good
  2. Philophobia Music


Karl Shore

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