Recently signing with Hassle Records, Bristol’s Phoxjaw come forth with their second EP, ‘A Playground For Sad Adults’. Experimental yet familiar, the release sees the quartet take equal influence in grunge, shoegaze and dissonance.
Delivering broken and uneasy soundscapes with the title-track to open the release, it becomes apparent that the group have no intentions to compromise on their vision.
Lead single, ‘Melt, You’re A Face Of Wax’ delivers the group’s brand of stripped back and raw grunge. Alternating between off kilter clean finger-picking and a spinning groove, guitarists Josh Gallop and Alexander Share seesaw between dominating the track and backing up Danny Garland‘s hypnotising and feral vocal delivery.
Whilst the aforementioned track and ‘Melody Man’ display Phoxjaw‘s strength in stripped back and minimal compositions, ‘Whale, Whale, Whale’ is filled with tremolo melodies, dirty riffs, and snarling screams. Effortlessly moving from shoegaze to doom inspired sludge, it sounds like an altogether different band.
Amongst the thick chords and spinning melodies, driving the energy of the ambitious number is Kieran Gallop‘s carefully placed drum patterns. From sparse percussion to scuttling fills, Gallop ensures the dynamics cut through instantaneously.
Ending with ‘The Curse Of The Button Man’, the quartet utilise tension and fury to bring the EP to a close. Building on a twisted melody and back and forth vocals, the track explodes with lunging guitars and barked refrains before diving into a wave of distortion and clattering cymbals.
As the harmonised vocal refrain of “A playground for sad adults” fades away, it becomes clear that Phoxjaw are an intriguing and unrelenting group. By treading a fine line between nostalgia and experimental shades, ‘A Playground For Sad Adults’ deserves your immediate and undivided attention.