Local Wire

Phenomenauts

Oakland's Phenomenauts produce an energetic mash of '80s dance beats -- fueled by the sci-fi sound of the theremin, the primitive synthesizer favored by early prog rockers -- and rockabilly thrash. They have the energy of the Clash, the party vibe of the B-52's and the merchandising savvy of Devo, but the influences are jammed together in a way that makes everything here sound strikingly new. The music virtually leaps off the disc with its soaring energy, sharp wit and invigorating musicianship; you'll be singing along after a single listen. "Giant Asteroid" is a driving tune balanced between spaghetti Western twang and skate-punk clamor, "Gravity" and "Hurry Let's Go" show the band's rockabilly rage at its most extreme, full of piss and bluster, while "Welcome Back" drops a bit of doo-wop into the mix, a move that could even win converts from the ranks of the band's grandparents.
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J. Poet