Favorite

Phonograph: Okno (BNS Sessions) 

Bands that escape being pigeonholed are often fun and interesting, but in the case of Brooklyn's Phonograph, perhaps only the latter is true. Okno is the band's sophomore release, coming two years after a self-titled debut that elicited serious praise from sober, roots-music magazines like Paste and American Songwriter.

Indeed, Phonograph has a knack for injecting dim New York influences (shards of Velvet Underground fuzz, blips of dance-club keyboards and electronica) into what is, at its essence, just more of the same Americana rock. Still, the male-female tradeoff of the groovy "Wellwisher" (thanks to the lovely voiced Grace Potter of Nocturnals infamy) and the liltingly melodic ballad "Are You Gonna" prove beyond a doubt that songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Matt Welsh can craft seriously attractive tunes. That said, at least half of Okno relies on artificial tension, like the banjo-vs.-distorted-bass landscape of "Mountain Tops," with its obscure, throwaway refrain.

Phonograph's musicianship is impeccable throughout, but the band might be better served by a commitment to either traditional songwriting or post-rock escapism. Regardless, it's an academic concern once you experience the jaunty "American Music," full of wide-open guitar leads and cymbal-smashing drums.

Welsh's lyrics are the usual melancholy stuff about heartbreak, his voice muffled in the mix and drenched in reverb to match the music's gloomy curtains. For fans of downbeat alt-country tinged with quirky instrumentation and noise à la Wilco, Phonograph's Okno is a worthy addition to the iTunes catalogue or CD rack.

More by Jarret Keene

  • Death on Two Rails

    Salvadoran journalist rides the deadly migrant trail
    • Jan 16, 2014
  • Daft Punk and Beyond

    Some of our critics' favorite albums of the year, part one
    • Dec 26, 2013
  • Thighs Like Us

    Ron Terpening's Cloud Cover reveals a sexy supporting character
    • Dec 19, 2013
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Facebook Recommendations

The Range

The UA Wants To Lay Some Science on You

Watch Brian Lopez's New "Static Noise" Video

Go to La Cocina on Thursday Night and Get the Taco Special

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

Tucson Weekly on Facebook

© 2015 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation