Monday, January 7, 2008

PHP doesn't mean Purple Herring Project

But it should. Way better than Punt, Hike, Pass, or Potter, Harry Potter.

I got an email recently from a new Jewish rock band that goes by the name PHP. (PHP doesn't stand for anything in particular and the guys have great fun collecting possible versions from fans). They've got an excellent sound and have got me hooked. Much to my surprise. I'm not usually a fan of straight up rock, even of the looser, more jazzy Jam Band variety. But I've had the master of their new album "Hodu" on pretty constant rotation for the last couple of days. My wife and I spent yesterday painting our living room. Any album that would have the two of us bouncing along for hours despite paint fumes, paint spills, and repeated "Papa let ME paint PLEEEEZE" is one that I'll be keeping around.

There's a lovely funky spaciness to PHP's sound. Not only is it reminiscent of contemporary Jam bands like Phish and their 1970's progenitors The Moody Blues, there's a nice mixing of folk(ish) and reggae(ish) rhythms. My favorite bit is the hysterical bonus track tacked on to the end of track 10, Cabin Jam. My one complaint with Hodu, and this is what turns me off from Jam Bands in general, is that the song melodies and lyrics are much less interesting than the explorations they launch. There's a whole community of improve musicians and fans that think that's just fine, but I want to feel that a stripped down one guy-one guitar version would work and be memorable. I don't get that feeling of compositional solidity from a number of these songs.

Here's a recent video of PHP. I don't think it really captures the sound they achieve on their album, but it will give you a rough idea of where they're coming from...

PHP Jewish Jam Band!!

PHP's Hodu will be available soon through Sameach. You can catch some demo tracks and videos at PHP website. Definitely worth checking out.

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