Composed of lifelong friends; Elbee Thrie, Aja Grant, Matt Byas, Elijah Rawk, and Bari Bas, Phony Ppl is known for creating genre-less blends of soul, funk, pop, and R&B. The world was introduced to their idiosyncratic sound when they released their debut album Yesterday’s Tomorrow in 2015, followed by their 2018 sophomore album mō’zā-ik. This Brooklyn-based quintet broke the boundaries of music with their new album, Euphonyus. Seasoned with the harmonic mix of sounds, this album celebrates the unconventional beauty of genre-bending tracks.
Reported by RatedR&B, the 12-track album reached number one on the iTunes R&B/Soul Albums chart when it was first released back in August. Coined from the term ‘euphonious’ and the group’s name, euPHONYus emanates the duality represented by their connection to the people, with the definition of the word euphonious, “pleasing to the ear”. Described in the press release as a “presentation of sonics made for all through transformative sound, masterful musicality, and performance”, the album consistently demonstrates experimental art that is clearly favoured by their featured artists.
With appearances from Megan Thee Stallion, Leon Thomas, JoJo and The Soul Rebels, the band’s presence is extended to fans of genre specific sounds, adhering to their objective of crossing boundaries.
In a playful interaction, award-winning singer JoJo exchanges hopeful, flirtatious lyrics with Phony Ppl on the track “try.”, living through the flourishing nature of love. A collaboration with The Soul Rebels details a unique story of a modern on-tour love affair on “splashin.”, a chilled out track with the smooth concoction of effervescent Funk and Hip Hop instrumentation. Using this blend of sounds, Thrie expresses his desire to become a millionaire paired with concerns of the complication of financial wealth, in the thought-provoking track “what it feels like.”
Sticking true to their experimental style, the track “don’t knock & common courtesy.” hosts a pleasantly distorted, enchanting sound that I find strangely satisfying to listen to. Assisted by Leon Thomas and The Soul Rebels in “to get home.”, the group deliver a possible no-win situation where Thrie tries to tempt his lady-of-the-night to go home with him, in hopes of taking with them the passionate energy of their steamy dance floor entanglement. In a theatrical take on songwriting, “dialtone.” is composed of two different songs in one to tell the cause and effect story of unrequited love. Among my favourite tracks from the album, “warmest winter.” describes the group’s attempt at surviving winter in California’s Mediterranean-like climate, a far cry from Brooklyn’s frigid temperatures.
Swearing not to make the same album twice, Phony Ppl claim this album to be “a harmonic celebration of sound and color through rhythm and melody; a jubilant event where you acknowledge the beauty of sound through concert/dance/ living.”
Their ability to push the boundaries of music and genuine interest in experimenting with genres is unquestionable; each track exemplifies their talent to do so. With Euphonyus, you will encounter a wide range of eccentric and innovative sounds that reflect the themes of life, love, and legacy. Utilising cinematic, powerhouse soundscapes, this album enhances any occasion, especially those well-timed reflective moments when you can relive similar experiences to the group’s own.