Phoxjaw - 'Royal Swan' Album Review
1. Charging Pale Horses
2. Trophies In The Attic
3. Triple AAA
4. You Don't Drink A Unicorn's Blood
5. Half House
6. Infinite Badness
8. An Owl Is A Cat With Wings
9. Bats For Bleeding
10. The Monk
12. Royal Swan
Bristol Grunge quartet Phoxjaw’s first full length, self produced studio album, 'Royal Swan' begins with the extremely atmospheric and dream-like instrumental ‘Charging Pale Horses’, which transitions into the slow building ‘Trophies In The Attic’, which at its peak is a chaotic modern Grunge powerhouse of a track, with discordant guitar licks and powerful riffs, it sets up the rest of the album beautifully and gives you a taste of the varied yet distinct Phoxjaw sound.
The album then transitions perfectly into ‘Triple AAA’, which provides a more straightforward Rock sound for the most part, with a certain twist of individuality, as I’m almost reminded of IDLES with some of the vocal work from lead singer/bassist Danny Garland. The entire band comes together to produce a phenomenal track that crescendos at the end, which finishes extremely abruptly.
Then comes the dark and brooding ‘You Don’t Drink A Unicorn’s Blood’, a slow, methodic track that almost feels like a Doom Metal song in places, with eerie effects and a quiet, seething aggression behind it, this is probably my favourite track on this album, combining so many different elements and influences, it houses some of the best guitar work from Josh Gallop and Alexander Share, and some extremely phenomenal, clinical drums from Kieran Gallop.
Each song on this album is a standout in its own right, which makes it fairly difficult to write about. I feel like I could go on for hours and hours about all the little intricacies within 'Royal Swan'. It's brilliantly varied, with a very tight, claustrophobic feeling, that also feels extremely open and spacious that pulls you into it in an extremely intoxicating way to create a unique listening experience. It combines the classic 90s Grunge attitude and styling with a modern twist, something that many bands have tried to accomplish but very few have succeeded in. Each song is unique, but it doesn’t ever feel incoherent. Phoxjaw are certainly ones to watch in the coming years.
Website - https://phoxjaw.bandcamp.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/phoxjawofficial
Review - Gordon Rae