By: Nick Manduley
New Jersey punk outfit Pheller independently released their latest EP, No Blood, on July 27th. Diving into the 6-track effort is “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs,” which starts with some crunchy palm-muted guitars backing guitarist Matthew Piserchio’s passionately punk vocals. The track has a lot of energy; the pounding drums, dirty guitars, and larger-than-life melodies had me thinking “Alright, this EP is about to melt my face off.”
To my surprise, however, “Bobby Briggs” is followed up by the somber and rather mid-tempo track “Down.” Though it wasn’t the continuity I was expecting, the track won me over with its cheeky lyricism: “You watched my fall from grace / Just as the floor met my face.” This track features an acoustic guitar which, in my opinion, really rounds out the song, especially when that heavy chorus kicks in. “Down” is an almost anthemic tune, good for anyone who feels they “can’t seem to catch a break.”
The release pushes forward with “Vlog #2 Soaked on Splash Mountain,” which re-captures some of that initial momentum that was set by “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs.” This song feels like a party; the soaring harmonies and and catchy guitar riffs will have the listener hooked, and just like any good party, it flies right by. The song is a brief 2 minutes, and leaves the listener feeling like it ended almost as soon as it started. Luckily, this isn’t a party, it’s a song, and I can simply play it over and over again.
The album charges into its second half with “The Bottom” and “Dual Suns.” There is a lot of duality between these tracks, but I think they just might be my favorites from No Blood. “The Bottom” is an explosive, upbeat track, guaranteed to open up a push pit in your DIY basement venue. “Dual Suns” chases it with a 6/8 tempo and a catchy chorus to boot. As Piserchio belts “What’s the point anyway? Everything changes,” against that monstrous chord progression and spacey lead guitar, it’s clear that this track is the emotional powerhouse on No Blood. The album draws to a close with “Wounds,” which acts as one last upbeat, power-punk hoorah. Guitarist Nigel Pierson along with Piserchio offer some great lead guitar work; Corey Granese provides some soul-pounding unclean vocals as well.
No Blood is currently available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can download it for the “name-your-price” option on the Pheller bandcamp page.