PHOXJAW – Royal Swan

Bristol’s Phoxjaw release their debut record, Royal Swan on the 3rd of July via Hassle records. What can I say about these guys that I haven’t already said? Oh, yeah. What I mean by that is, I’ve had the privilege of listening to their EP, A Playground for Sad Adults, which came out in 2019. A lot has happened since 2019, A LOT, not sure if you know, but we are slowly coming out of lockdown, and learning about social distancing.

Recorded at Devil’s Bridge Cottage in Wales, where band members, Danny Garland vocals/bass, Josh Gallop guitar/keys, Kieran Gallop drums and Alexander Shar guitar/vocals all recorded in separate rooms, giving the sound, a unique taste that may impress Gordon Ramsay.

Starting with ‘Charging Pale Horses’ is 59 seconds of sombre interval music; this did get me into a false sense of security until ‘Trophies in The Attic’ allowed my spider-sense to disregard with their short burst of riffs. Their melancholic vocals attack the mind like a scene from The Shining. If my sleep deprivation had a sound, it will be this…love it.

I’ve been meaning to catch PhoxJaw live, I haven’t, maybe lockdown prevented this, or my knees are creaking too much. But, seeing them live to see how they perform with those short explosions of vocals while maintaining a sound of growth. ‘Triple AAA’ has some powerful Britpop in this, more Biffy than the earlier sound. We move into ‘You Don’t Drink A Unicorn’s Blood’ has mosh fuelled moment, Oh I do love the unhinge feeling to this tune.

It’s impressive their adaptability as you get ‘Half House’ a catchy sound onto a slower, forlorn ‘infinite badass’ there is much happening with them and I have to listen to it more times to get either a lyric, such as “is there a cure…for this bellowing sadness”, or a riff…there is an abundance of motions to gain from tracking these guys.  

The gothic intro of ‘Bats for Bleeding’ caught me off guard, then, my senses erupt as I feel an influence of Josh Homme with the Queens of The Stone Age cats. You know what, PhoxJaw is a highlight of the UK and Ireland music scene at the moment, since hearing A Playground for Sad Adults and now this their debut record, PhoxJaw enable me to be a melancholic, angst fuelled joy of listening to music. 


Get it, people, it’s out now.

Mark Wincott

July 20, 2020

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