Pheromoans mark their ninth year of existence with the release of fourth album, 'I’m On Nights', out on the 12th of February
A largely electronic affair, this new ten-track LP - recorded in Manor House, north east London - refracts vocalist Russell Walker’s stony poeticisms through a lens of analogue synths, while etching drum machine clicks and spaced out keyboard ditties into the bigger picture. Guitars and bass still make an appearance – helmed by Christian Butler, Alex Garran and James Tranmer – but they’ve mostly been eclipsed by the scrappy, artificial beats which now underline Walker's diary-like, ennui-soaked rhymes.
Album opener 'Wizard’ – with its blocky, Bizarre Love Triangle-esque intro and unnerving pins and needles crackle - jolts you awake with charges of experimental noise. Then there's the plaintive synth pads on the LP’s eponymous, stripped back tear-jerker and the acid squelch of ‘Depressed Wobble’. Because, with 'I'm On Nights', musical touchstones take on a myriad cult guises, from the downbeat minimal wave of Solid Space or Absolute Body Control, to a hypothetical vision of Dan Treacy crooning caustically over ‘Mari’ by Martin Rev. That's not forgetting, of course, the outlier crop of new wave-y post-punk bands which this time around see the likes of Datblygu and Young Marble Giants step up to the plate. And, as always, there’s the requisite nod to all things DIY and Messethetics.
Walker says he hope this new direction will create some distance away from a certain demographic; “…An attempt to alienate further the other dads at the nursery gates who kept slapping my back firmly and saying 'nice work keeping our music alive compadre', and trying to graft their aviator shades onto my forehead and contorting my fingers into the devils headset," he explains.
Featuring titles like ‘Don’t Spread It Round College’ and ‘Brad’s Crush’, the bulk of the LP's lyrical content reaches back into Walker's 16-18 year old psyche; "It was at J. Sainsbury (Produce) in Uxbridge where I discovered the joy of working alone at night unimpeded and free to delve further into my hitherto unexplored imagination...!!" he explains. And it's this theme of (oft night-time) employment which cuts through the biro scribbles of Walker’s quotidian missives; “temp work suits me / shift work corrects me” he opines on finale track ‘Rock & Pop Quarrel’.
Hailing from the holy trinity of England’s most southern locales - London, Brighton and Hertfordshire - Pheromoans currently consist of Russell Walker on vocals, Christian Butler on guitar & electronics, Alex Garran on bass & electronics, James Tranmer on guitar & electronics, Scott Reeves on drums & electronics and Dan Bolger on keyboards.
This new album follows 2014’s Hearts of Gold and 2012's ‘Does This Guy Stack Up?’