A sponsored post on a certain social media platform announced the release of the self-titled debut album from Phantastic Ferniture, fronted by Sydney-based singer songwriter, Julia Jacklin. And it’s discoveries like these make me grateful for the number of hours I spend scrolling on the internet. Julia Jacklin’s melancholy indie folk 2016 debut Don’t Let the Kids Win endeared listeners to her unique intonation and lyricism and while her solo venture set out to “make sad music with a guitar,” Phantastic Ferniture has an obviously different mission: fun garage pop that sticks in your head long after the album is finished.
The sound is simple but effective. Punchy bass lines, addictive guitar riffs and steady drums, combined with Jacklin’s interesting voice is an oft-used formula in garage rock, but Phantastic Ferniture does it well. The lead single off the album “Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin” features an infectious bass line combined with easy-to-sing-along lyrics, “I’ve been / Waiting to find it”; it feels good and sounds even better. Some riffs don’t feel fully developed, such as those in the first two tracks, but Phantastic Ferniture makes up for it with its undeniable catchiness.
Although the slick guitar hooks and catchy vocals remain consistent throughout the album, it features some welcome surprises that keeps us listening. The third track, “Gap Year” which contains one of the most hummable bass lines in the album, also includes a rumbling guitar solo that breaks up the rhythm of the album. The following song “Take It Off,” a bluesy number with marching drums and a grittier guitar line, is an absolute banger. A similar sounding track, “I Need It,” is a slow burn, lurching along into anthemic, grungy guitar noise. The next number “Dark Corner Dance Floor” lives up to its name with an uptempo danceable beat and tribal-sounding backing vocals. The closer “Mumma y Papa” has a darker tone, with almost spoken-word vocals and an upbeat, bouncy rhythm.
The good vibes begin from the first track, “Uncomfortable Teenager,” and don’t stop until the end. The lyrics are never too profound, but with all the head bobbing going on, who’s listening? Put it on during a drive, or pop on some headphones for a solo dance party. Either way, Phantastic Ferniture knows how to have fun.