This Noise Rock Song is About… Sunscreen?

I wouldn’t say I’m a typical fan of noise, but there’s always been a special place in my heart for The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Chariot, and some other fringe acts. And then there are less-chaotic-but-still-noisy acts like Holy Fawn or any number of related shoegaze and post-metal artists that I’d acquired a taste for dissonance and a good fuzz pedal.

Phoxjaw is a strange bastard lovechild of the polyamorous relationship of Bowie, Mr. Bungle, and The Cure. The exact proportion of these elements changes from song to song, sometimes leaning into more standard, moody post-punk. The vocals sometimes sounds like Future Islands or TR/ST. But the group’s bread and butter is when the guitars foam and screech over non-standard scale degrees. It’s hard to not imagine Mike Patton throwing his voice over some of these songs, were they not adorned by multiple voices of British men. And the dark, circus-adjacent vibe also reminds me of the pAper chAse.

So color me surprised when I discovered the band has a track about sunscreen. Here’s the chorus to “sungazer”:

Gonna burn yourself
Better slap some thick white cream on
Sunscreen shielding from a radiant beam

Okay, I hear you. It might be a euphemism. That’s what you’re thinking. Well, guess what? Here are the opening lyrics:

It’s big and orange and lives up in the sky
It’s beautiful and do you know why
It’s sends out lots of ultraviolet rays

It’s literally about the sun. And the band manages to present these lyrics in a way that aren’t immediately intelligible, but the sentiment is still there, even as pedal boards flare up and vocal lines weave together and apart. It’s proof that if you can make it sound convincing, you can really sing about anything. But for those who are willing to look into the lyrics, it’s a pretty funny treat to discover what lingers beneath the chaos.

Check out the track below and follow Phoxjaw on social media.

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