Blues-drenched riffs and psychedelic organs adorn the debut album from Pharlee, a band combining elements from classic ‘60s rock and modern day California to create a refreshingly original sound.
Formed in San Diego and comprising of members of notable bands such as Harsh Toke and Joy, Pharlee are a force to be reckoned with and wear a wide range of influences on their sleeve, from Cream to ZZ Top via Witch Mountain and early Fleetwood Mac. Opener ‘Ethereal Woman’ kicks off proceedings with a cacophony of earth-shattering drums (played here by Zach Oakley), dark bluesy riffs and dramatic organ stabs which pave the way perfectly for the moment the powerful vocals of singer Macarena Rivera arrive. Reminiscent of Patti Smith and a grittier Stevie Nicks, Rivera’s soaring voice is bolstered wonderfully by the dirty riffs, serving as an enticing and commanding presence at the centre of the storm.
‘Darkest Hour’ is another highlight, this time featuring some truly tasty, thick and fuzzy licks from guitarist Figgy and further soulful vocals from Rivera. ‘Warning’ offers a change of pace mid-way through the album, opening with steel-strung guitars and gentle percussion, conjuring up images of a sunset-drenched Californian desert before the song expands into something grittier with ZZ Top-inspired riffing and Rivera’s mesmerising vocals yet again taking centre stage. Elsewhere, ‘Sunward’ closes the album in style, a culmination of all the elements that make this album sparkle with energy, from the raucous drums to the blissed-out guitar solos. With the melting pot of talent this band possess, it was clear Pharlee weren’t going to fail. What is surprising, however, is that despite their main influences clearly being from a bygone era, this album sounds fresh, glittering throughout with an energy that makes it an absolute joy to listen to.
Pharlee is out now on Tee Pee Records. Purchase here.
Words: Adam Pegg