This is a bit atypical of the bands that we generally choose for Synthesis Band of the Day. No horn-rimmed glasses, waifish broads with ugly indie-rock haircuts, ‘roid-bicep hardcore meatheads, striped sweater wussies or epic Dungeons & Dragons progressive metalheads. No, Phredley brings the funk-rock.
In my fledgling college days, back when tie-dye wasn’t as vomitous and my roommate’s constant Phish-Grateful Dead-Phish musical rotation didn’t drive me completely bonkers, I would have broken my left leg to check out a band like Phredley. Now bad photoshop effects kinda irk me, patchouli oil makes me want to hurl and hippie funk in general just pisses me off. But not Phredley. They’s alright.
Based around a brother-sister duo (Phred Brown on Vocals, Guitar & Horns; Alesha Brown on Keys & Vocals) and a rhythm section (Paul Loos, Drums & Vocals; Samuel Tobias Winn, Bass & Vocals) Phredley lays down funk that is far closer to the heart of nearby Detroit than that of longhair revivalists in Colorado or Vermont. And when they stray toward the pop side of the spectrum, it comes across more as radio-friendly than looking for a parking lot miracle. More importantly (for me at least), their lyrics hold water. With the aforementioned hippie-funk enthusiasts, it’s most often the lyrics that drive me to enraged hysterics; Phredley uses some clever (or nearly clever) turns of phrase. No, Phred’s not Leonard Cohen by any means, but in a sometimes poppy, sometimes rocky funk quartet, it works. Their track “The Truth About Capricorns” also has some pretty, Beatelesque, tonally complex passages. If you’re a big fan of Ben Harper/Jack Johnson/Maroon 5, or your ’70s R&B records don’t have much dust on them, do yourself a favor and look into Phredley.