The Pheromoans are new to me and I’m willing to wager they’re new to you. Yet this peculiarly British band has been ploughing its lone furrow for 18 years.
They’ve cultivated an outsider mentality – “like a bygone sitcom gone rogue in your memory” – that could only come from England.
Their new album, for example, includes songs about male pattern baldness, rural arts communities, and trips to collect controlled medication for a mental breakdown.
You don’t get that with Springsteen, Sheeran or Swift.
This film for their optimistically titled new single, Faith In The Future, may well be the first pop video ever to take viewers on a tour of the suburbs of Hitchin in Bedfordshire – alma mater of John Earls – filmed by singer Russell Walker’s 11-year-old son Rowan.
Meanwhile, the words that accompany this hypnotic two-guitar jangle redolent of early R.E.M. – sung by Walker in the wry, understated manner he has made his own – are, well, curious yet strangely appealing.
“Lyrically the idea here was to cautiously tug at the thread of certain patterns I’ve witnessed over my 43 years on terra firma,” says Walker Sr. “Certain mishearings or misinterpreted gestures have been included as perhaps more illustrative than whatever passed for fact within the tribes discussed.”
The song is taken from their forthcoming album Wyrd Psearch, recorded in the lovely East Sussex town of Lewes with the band’s new guitarist Henry Holmes joining James Tranmer, drummer Scott Reeve and Daniel Bolger on keyboards and bass.
Walker claims the album’s title is an expression of his frustration at the ubiquity of people claiming things are eerie or weird / wyrd in the present cultural milieu and I’m with him on this: you only have to turn on the TV to find some reality contestant claiming their experience had been “surreal” when it was literally the opposite.
But back to this song: Faith In The Future and the puzzle presented by those lyrics. It’s a lot of fun trying to work it out.