Phone Trio - Brickwall
Record Label: Enemy One Records
Release Date: July 2007
Phone Trio are a pop punk band from one of the most unlikely places you would ever expect pop punk to flourish in - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is like going to a Las Vegas show where a Japanese singer is performing Elvis on stage. Oddly enough, those off-the-wall impersonations are actually very viable and so is Phone Trio’s take on pop punk. The only problem is that the band sound more like they are impersonating Tokyo Rose or Motion City Soundtrack on their latest disc Brickwall than delivering a voice that depicts themselves. Brickwall is an 8-track sample of Phone Trio’s pop punk sensibilities and knack for melodic timing. They hit their cues precisely and shoot their guitar slings with an ear for transmitting melodic frequencies. They could not be more enamored of American rock if they were born in the States.
Tracks like “Loves Me So, Loves Me Not” and “Crystal Clear” are flooded with pop punk transistors and urgent rhythm thrusts by bassist Mateus Simoes and drummer Hugo Faraco, though these tracks have little that distinguishes them apart from any other pop punk band that plays at the Vans Warped Tours. “Hooker” has guitar segments that roll up and down through the drum fills with a massaging motion as lead singer/guitarist Sal tells, “I met this girl last night / She was amazing, I must say / I asked her out and she said, ‘Maybe that’s OK’ / So I took her to my home / We had her favorite brandy / She said, ‘It’s hot here’ / I thought ‘I’m going to get laid’ / So I just took her to my bedroom / She said ‘Baby, I’m your slave’ / And we made love the whole night / But in the morning / She asked me to get paid / She was a hooker.” The lyrics are filled with stories about libido-fueled adventures and the traps that following these urges leads one into, without a safety net to catch its victim.
The track “The Promise” is immediately recognizable since it is a remake of the 1988 pop hit song from Britain’s new wave band When in Rome. Phone Trio’s treatments on the melody bring in faster processed beats and columns of tightly squeezed guitar chords. The tempo is hurried and runs right through the embankment of slow riding curves that made When in Rome’s version so likable and acquired international attention. This is the mostly likely track from Phone Trio’s disc that people will recognize, but not necessarily be enamored with as much as Phone Trio are with western rock. The remaining songs on Brickwall fall into the pop punk category having a rather generic sound that could be coined by any band in this clique. The tracks are also poor at bringing Sal’s vocals forward. His voice is often overwhelmed by the sonic blast of the bass and drum patterns and layers of guitars.
Phone Trio’s latest release Brickwall sounds like the band studied and copied the tabs of pop punk bands from A to Z. It’s not meant to be offensive, just realistic. Originality is low on these tracks, but the band’s admiration for western rock and pop punk is extremely high. The album is loaded with energy and fun, and it is hard to pass that up in a review.