Phaser Sway

After touring with the likes of Super Furry Animals, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and most recently, Ladytron, D.C.’s Phaser are now ready to break out on their own with their debut album, Sway. Using an effortlessly cool, blissed-out approach, the quartet creates guitar-led music that touches on material previously made by bands like Ride, Doves and recent hypes Warlocks. The songs shift between drone frenzied rock ("Life and Illusion”), excellent ballads ("Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind”) and just drug-induced ambience ("Northern Light”). They like the jangly, effects-laden guitar noise shoegazers favoured and drench their songs in it. However, they don’t suffer from hero worship, knowing how to use it without sounding like a tribute band. Phaser’s spacy psychedelia is quite distant and detached, yet the vocals have meaning and sentiment, like a reclusive poet. Because of how they operate, it’s not love at first listen on Sway. More than a couple of listens is required to truly appreciate what they have achieved here. (Emperor Norton)