Fists – Phantasm
Phantasm won’t be lauded for its originality, channelling as it does a scrappy fuzz-pop sound that’s grown endlessly familiar: a garage-rock lip curl here, a whammy-barred guitar twang there, with insouciance across the board and brusque distortion wall to wall. But there are plenty other reasons to salute Nottingham quintet Fists, who pack their debut with enough scuffed melodies and energy that initial feelings of déjà vu soon subside.
Producer Rory Brattwell (aka former Test Icicle/current Warm Brains bloke Rory Attwell) helps bring out their best side, keeping the edges rough on bluesy opener Go but ensuring the compact hooks of tracks like Solvent (a sort of Britpopped Bleached) or Big Wave (a Fever to Tell-type rock number) aren’t swallowed by the lo-fi clamour. It does the trick: by the time breezy closer Try comes around, Phantasm has comfortably transcended its chosen limitations and delivered something decidedly satisfying. [Chris Buckle]