Sunday, July 30, 2023

Phantom Intrusion - The Invocation

The Invocation, Phantom Intrusion's debut EP, takes me back to the '90s in an entirely good way. Phantom Intrusion is based in Binghamton, New York and features the vocals and songwriting talents of Maddie Novak. Kevin (bass) and Adam (drums) round out this trio. Lyrically, The Invocation is a very intense experience. And the music reflects that, as these songs fall on the rougher side of the pop-punk spectrum. I'm hearing bits and pieces of everything from late '80s/early '90s East Bay punk to old East Coast standouts like Plow United to the manic punk rock of The Vindictives to what they used to call emocore back in the day. Think melodic punk with an aggressive, chaotic edge. The artwork and band name bring to mind horror punk, and there's a little bit of a horror theme in a couple of these tracks. But for the most part, these songs are built around Maddie's intensely personal reflections on what it's like to go through life with depression and crippling anxiety as your constant companions — fighting to navigate a day-to-day existence when you literally "feel awful all the time." Hearing lyrics like "I shook myself awake last night/And I was crying in my sleep/It hasn't been an easy life/ And sometimes I forget to breathe," I'm deeply moved in a way I rarely am by another person's art. I'm blown away by Maddie's artistic courage. It takes guts to share this kind of suffering with the world in such an honest and intimate way. And for people listening who are going through mental health struggles of their own, they'll know they're not alone. Phantom Intrusion has a pretty unique vibe for a pop-punk band. This EP makes me nostalgic for all-ages punk shows in the '90s and dancing in the pit. Yet it's not really retro or obviously derivative. There was something about these songs that grabbed me from the get-go, and I am pleased to hear that another EP is in the works. I did have to chuckle when I saw the price listing at $6.66!

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