Last fall Pheen made a trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, to record their new EP with famed record producer Rick Beato. The band had sent Beato (known for his work with Shinedown, Crossfade, Bullet For My Valentine, Needtobreathe and Vince Neil) a demo of songs they recorded on their own, and Beato liked enough of what he heard to invite the band down to his studio to record some of them. Pheen ended up recording three songs with Beato – the title track, “Christine” and “Now or Never” – and added a fourth song, “Highway Frequency” when they got back to the Fort. The result is an EP guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
When I reviewed Pheen’s second album, Vacant Afternoons, I remember thinking the band was one of the better sounding local bands I had heard at the time and that, when sized up against national bands of the same genre, they held their own. Nothing has changed.
Starting with “Now or “Never,” Pheen once again bring to mind national bands Trapt, Breaking Benjamin or even the lesser known Die Trying in the way they introduce the song and bring it to a climax with a catchy, sing-along chorus. “Christine” is just as catchy but a bit more melodic, leading nicely into the title track, “My Ending.” The least metal song on the album, it’s by far my favorite of the four. Deeply touching and emotional, it shows off Pheen’s diverse songwriting ability and may be the band’s best song to date. The album closer, “Highway Frequency,” was recorded by Jon Gillespie in Fort Wayne instead of with Beato, but it fits in nicely and adds a different vibe to the EP. Probably the most upbeat of the quartet of songs, it finishes the album nicely while leaving you wishing the CD weren’t so short.
With its mature sound and strong songwriting, backed by state-of-the-art production, My Ending is undoubtedly one of the best local releases I’ve heard this year. It is currently only available digitally through iTunes and Rhapsody but should be available in a hard copy later this year. With songs like these there is no telling how long we will be able to call Pheen a local band. I’m betting it won’t be long at all. (Chris Hupe)
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