THE PHENOMENAUTS: ESCAPE VELOCITY
Based on the packaging (and the very poor description New Music Editor DM Collins texted me about their music–seriously, how does that guy even have a job?!?), I was expecting lo-fi surf/space schtick. But these Oakland rockers kick down a tight, engaging amalgamation of pop-punk, garage rock, glam and new wave, all tied together with a decidedly optimistic and forward-looking futuristic sci-fi ethos. From song to song, they run the gamut of musical styles but remain consistent to their vision. Strong vocal melodies and backing harmonies over loud, over the top yet tasteful guitar lines and an excellent production job allow the songs to speak for themselves to our benighted world. Imagine an after-hours party with Marc Bolan, Devo, and Cheap Trick . . . and then the Groovie Ghoulies show up! By the crack of dawn, they have solved all of our problems, or at the least the problems worth solving.