Another Place Another Time - The Phringe Dwellers (self released)
Damned if this isn’t one of the best releases of the last few years out of Sydney and its by an all but unknown band. Saying Phringe Dwellers have a low live profile is like labelling Motorhead as a bunch of guys who played moderately loud. Paradoxically, this EP from the blues rock trio sounds like it was forged in the furnaces of a thousand suburban beer barns.
Of course its members are no strangers to live stages. Bassist-vocalist-harmonica player Carl Ekman and guitarist John South were members of The Hunchbacks in the ‘90s and King Felix in the ‘00s with four albums between them. Expat Melbournite and drummer, Simon Li, is a singer-songwriter who used to keep time for World Punk exponents The Balkan Grill.
Phringe Dwellers popped out a CD single as a profile-builder in early 2015 and “Another Time…” is a step up from that. It’s probably the best-sounding record I’ve heard come out of Zen Studios. Props to the band and Geoff Lee for the mixing. The guys went all out and got the wizard Don Bartley to master it.
“Another Place Another Time” is blues rock with brevity. None of the six songs top two-and-a-half minutes. “Broke and Bruised” is a classic down-and-out story with a country-rock bent. Carl Ekman’s bass-line is the stand-out and John South’s guitar is on fire. Ekman peppers “No Gain” with blues harp to give it that early ‘70s Oz Rock touch in the vein of Carson.
Bitter kIss-off song “Stepping Out” kicks it up a notch with vamping keyboards, ragged back-up vocals and a tremendous lead-break against a rock solid feel. Slide and squalling blues harp punctuate the similarly pissed-off “Bad Girl” while “Joe’s Cafe” slips into the rock-blues territory staked-out by the early ZZ Top.
Ignore the rusted-out hulk on the cover, this one's roadworthy with plenty of mileage to come.