Coming out Nottingham Phosphate, are Joey Frost (Vocals) Ashley Brittain (Guitar) Bill Lee (Bass) and Corey Bates (Drums)
I am telling you all of this very interesting information because I have in my sweaty little hands the band’s debut EP ‘Jack.’
Things kick off with the 60’s/70’s inspired ‘Blind.’ The first half of the track is actually quite bluesy, reminiscent of some of the early stuff from Cream where Blues was quite a heavy influence. It’s a brilliant start to the record; the sultry tone of the guitar is spot on in every way and the solo which drifts through the second half is fantastic as Brittain channels his inner Stone Gossard.
Not for the last time, ‘Jenny’ sees the band switch style with this track straying more towards indie rather than the bluesy rock which characterised the opener. The vocal from Frost is not particularly strong in the traditional sense but his delivery and the structure of the songs mean that it doesn’t have to be. This is something which the band should actually be commended for; they are playing to their strengths and finding their won sound rather than trying to use huge soaring multi-range vocals which simply wouldn’t fit.
As the title suggest ‘Break My Soul’ isn’t the most uplifting of tracks but lyrically it’s one of the bands strongest. There’s something quite captivating about;
‘Your fire, pushes me closer to the wire. Show me a liar, and I’ll reveal the truth. Your halo is withered and broken, you tore off my mask and wish I’d never spoken.’
Again the guitar work is very strong, and the quicker final section is a nice addition.
‘Ulcer’ however, is a bit of a disappointment. Well, there is nothing wrong with the song as such but the production I feel lets the track down in a big way. It sounds like the band were playing in one room while someone stood outside with the door shut and recorded it. That’s being said, I do like the track. It has quite a grunge style edge to it and the musicianship is again impressive. However the production could have done with being a good deal sharper.
Final track, the imaginatively titled ‘Document 1’ (Named after the default save in Microsoft word) is probably one of the most random things that I have ever heard. It makes absolutely no sense, and in places lyrically it’s almost like a guide track because it makes no sense but it somehow works. There is a Black Sabbath vein pumping glorious rock riffs throughout the track and the solo towards the end is outstanding. It’s a great track to end on.
The word I would use to describe this record is ‘promising;’ there is a hell of a lot to like. The band aren’t afraid to try different styles, the rhythm section and the guitar work are superb and vocally Frost seems to have found his lane which is a huge plus at this stage in the game. Failed over-elaborate vocals are a huge no-no. On the flipside as I mentioned the production is a little patchy and although I did praise the lyrics in ‘Break My Soul’ on a couple of other tracks they are a little weak. But, and it is a huge but, it needs to be remembered that this is the band’s first project and any of the slight negatives that I have mentioned can be easily fixed over time. What is important is that all the basic stuff is there and it is very good.
‘Jack’ strikes and beautifully rocky tone and will keep you interested from beginning to end of what is a very promising debut.