ergo

Ergo Phizmiz’s career seems to have been defined as much by who he isn’t as who he is; with a sound that’s drawn strong comparison to a diverse range of acts from Vivian Stanshall and The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, to Frank Zappa and Daniel Johnson. At first it may seem like ‘The Peacock’ is doing little to distance itself from these associations – this album is certainly no paradigm shift in tone from his previous LPs – but listen closely and you’ll hear a musician making gentle movements that stretch beyond the shadow of his influences.

Archaic but rarely arcane, Phizmiz’s songs flit restlessly between pastoral folk (‘Mandrake’, ‘All Fall Down’), crepuscular tango (‘Smiles Of A Summer Night’), woozy rockabilly (‘The Flying House’) and baroque balladry (‘The Light Behind You’), while the undulating psychedelia of ‘Consequences’ and the rattling sing-a-long of ‘Open Artery Surgery’ are sugary bites of off-kilter pop; one synth solo away from the rich melodies of Metronomy. It’s an unrepentantly eccentric but alarmingly accessible album; one that sees Phizmiz reign in the more obtuse elements of his sound without losing any of his idiosyncratic charm, and continuing to resurrect the bewitching Canterbury sound.

Of course, its quintessentially British eccentricity means it will never be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re looking for something off the beaten track then this is an unusual garden of delights.

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