Phobes The Beginning or the End

From Washington, DC, comes the Phobes, a seersucker-sharp and spiffy mod,'60s rock trio with an unrelentingly fresh and snappy album that charges at you like a Vespa in high gear. While staying away from obvious references to the Jam and other mod giants, the Phobes sound, at times, like a cross between the Beatles (circa '66,) the Small Faces and the Kinks, punched up with a heavy dose of fuzz and reverb-soaked hallucinatory spiralling. The Pretty Things and the Action are also close points of reference in the psychedelic and paisley universe that the Phobes glide effortlessly through on the strength of solid songs and intelligent, literate lyrics. The Phobes ride on a strong, 12-track line-up that maintains a mod integrity without becoming strangled by it throughout. (Jump Up)