Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Phone Booth's album "Roman" homage to the life and death of a friend is emotionally rich. Hear "Ballad of Indifference" and "Swims In Oceans"

The track Ballad of Indifference by the indie rock outfit The Phone Booth is musically spartan but emotionally dense. The story is dolled out in a kind of somber core sort of way. Tonally the sounds shift into post punk (and slight emo) textures and then erupts in a big punk way while still feeling empty at it's core. I like this aspect as nothing feels over produced which keeps it all so real. I thought of the amazing Jeff Rosenstock while I listened but while Rosenstock takes personal feelings and splatters them against the macrocosm (becoming more of social commentary), The Phone Booth on their album "Roman" keep it all personal.

Michael Easbey (vocals, guitar, primary songwriter), Josh Blumenthal (bass), Ben Pecorari (drums) and Tony Pennington (guitar) spent two years crafting this very personal piece of work inspired by Easbey's relationship with his best friend Steven Gonzales and Steven's subsequent death on October 3rd, 2016 from stage IV cancer. On the album's track Healthcare Steven can be heard from a phone conversation. Healthcare is a standout track. 

The track Swim In Oceans is a mosh worthy garage rock punk song with churning guitars and delicious bass lines snaking through. The song pulls back the assault throughout pulling us all in on tender moments as well. Many of the songs on "Roman" share the quiet / loud dynamism like shadowbox's of emotions as personal glimpses with musical highs and lows. 

There are moments on "Roman" that says it all. The track Cab driver, etc which is not a song but a conversation is perfectly poised to break your heart a little bit at the simple realization that bad things just happen and when the song Dust settles deeply inside your heart breaks more. Dust, maybe the most tender song on "Roman" and feels like a friend's hard hug when you are at your lowest low. The kind of hug that let's you lose it and makes you cry so hard you can't breathe. While Dust most be the most tender, the last track Comfortable (the album's opus) is stirring and terribly sad, a mixture of anger, pain and hurtful realization. It may choke you up and make your eyes water like it did mine. 

No word yet on when the album will be in full release mode but Steven would be proud. The Phone Booth hail from Santa Barbara, California. Roman was recorded and mixed at The Earth Capital in Los Angeles by Alex Estrada (Joyce Manor, Touché Amoré).

Robb Donker

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