Review: Phargo - "Rende's"

Phargo - Rende's
(2015 Ozona)

Sneakily concealing a surprising amount of depth beneath its ramshackle crust, Rende's is the sort of Bandcamp release that takes full advantage of its lo-fi, underground autonomy. The debut full-length effort of Louisiana quartet Phargo takes listeners for a county fair thrill ride's worth of whiplash-inducing twists into new ideas and genres - its first ten minutes contain a jazzy lattice of midwestern emo guitaristry ("The Opening Scene In Tokyo-3"), a riff-riddled slacker-rock anthem that recalls Yuck's melodic sludginess ("Cool Guy Has A Chill Day"), a funereal garage ballad that slowly builds up to a cinematic post-rock crescendo ("Who's Line Is It Anyway?") and an undulating waterbed of gloomy guitar noodlings ("Untitled"). No matter what texture or emotion you're in the mood for, Rende's diverse menu of flavors is sure to offer its own twist on your order, swaddled in a batter of noise, reverb and unabashedly pop-punk vibes - it musters the dynamic range and theatrical bombast of Mogwai's Mr. Beast and condenses it into a manageable 33 minutes of memorable hooks and teen angst. Despite this terseness, Rende's offers quite a bit of replay value in the form of outliers like the incredibly dense "Thanks, Kojima!", pummeled with flange pedal psychedelia, and the Velvet Underground-esque minimalism of "Josh Zirkle's Dosh Circle". As hip as its laundry list of sonic influences and as lovably geeky as the video games and goofy YouTube videos it references, Phargo's debut is a timeless emo record for all seasons, for all ages, for all feelings.