Comprising of alt-country rising stars Julia Jacklin, Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K Brennan, Phantastic Ferniture could be deemed a supergroup if the trio weren’t so intent on slacking off. The three-piece steer clear of award-grabbing dross and dive instead into perfectly executed indie-rock. Were the heatwave still beating down it would make an excellent summer driving album; luckily, the teenage angst at the heart of the self-titled debut also pairs well with the newly arrived thunderstorms (phunderstorms?).
Pitched as the slacker-pop alternative to their relatively self-serious solo careers, there’s a clever strain of fun running throughout the album. Be it in the shifting tempos or expletive laden lead single ‘Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin’ (phuckin?), Jacklin and co. smartly play with the cliches of their genre. And for all the fun, the group deptly know when to rein in the mirth and knuckle down – there is no note out of place, no guitar solo too long, no beat missed. For all the facade of stylish indifference that this album gifts its creators, they’re still the tight musicians behind 2016’s Don’t Let The Kids Win and other projects.
Such meticulously crafted songs form a meticulously crafted album. Songs which could drown anywhere else are given a leg up by the variety amongst the tracks. ‘Parks’ is a ballad-by-numbers (bar fun tempo switches) destined to fade into filler. Thankfully, the loose lollop of early standout and preceding track ‘Take It Off’ melds a derty (dirty?), spiralling blues riff with Jacklin’s distinctive voice in such a way that it’s convincingly baggy. Pairing such diverse tracks together adds a playful rhythm to the album.
Posing as the serious musicians’ chance to slack off, Phantastic Ferniture instead approaches garage-country perfection thanks to the musical talent and artistic nous of its members. It may not be scoring points for self-congratulatory awards but its quiet confidence leaves other albums in the dert. Delightphul.
PHANTASTIC FERNITURE BY PHANTASTIC FERNITURE IS OUT NOW VIA TRANSGRESSIVE.