Key Tracks: “This Ain’t No Picnic” “Charted Trips”
Just a few weeks ago I compared and contrasted two albums done by Phooey!, praising the pseudo-collective for both the diversity of their music and the speed that they put out releases. And indeed, “A Collection of Sins” shows both – it’s a full-length, coming out on the heels of an EP and a split, and this time, it’s a little more baroque and psych-pop than it is noise/pop/twee/punk. And Phooey!, an ever-changing band, exists on this album solely as bandleader Nikita. It’s an 18 song collection of some covers and some originals, not aligning as much to any sort of subgenre than their past releases, instead making itself resemble a collection of vignettes. Only one song, “This Ain’t No Picnic,” is over three minutes, and nine are under two. The album’s strongest quality is probably how much it feels like someone in their bedroom, playing some little songs they’ve learned along the way.
There’s a lot going on during this album, a number of different ideas. “This Ain’t No Picnic,” the album’s first real song (after a Bugs Bunny soundclip intro), is calm and heavy on background percussion instruments. It has a baroque resemblance, without any of the grand ambitions. “Waiting Room,” is closer to psych-pop, “Charted Trips” is an acoustic semi-ballad and “Unfinished” sounds more like some of Phooey!’s earlier pop-punkish tunes. And “Rebel Gurrrl” is a much weirder, somewhat psychedelic finish to the album. In between are a number of alt-pop and fuzzy guitar songs, all ideas that don’t stick around too long.
“A Collection of Sins” is a pleasant album, the sound of a man recording some music in his alone time, messing around with the Replacements and Sam Cooke, among others. Each song is like a small offering of what Phooey! does, some more different than others. And at only 35 minutes, the “collection” feel to it doesn’t get too quick or repetitive. Not every song is as memorable as the album’s best, but since they’re all samples, it’s easy to overlook the less grabbing ones. So overall, it’s a fun release, just as varying as Phooey! is in general, and a good mix of covers and originals. If Phooey! was avoiding falling into any genre of music before, they certainly are now.
The album is available for stream and download here.
If you like this, try: Last time I compared Phooey!, as a whole, to Japanther. But this album’s varying style of vignettes is much more reminiscent of Guided By Voices and their offshoot, Swearing at Motorists.