Meah!/Phantom Family Halo split 7″ (Sophomore Lounge)

(Both covers of the Meah!/Phantom Family Halo split from the Sophomore Lounge web site, http://sophomoreloungerecords.com.)

Normally when one thinks of happenin’ musical hotspots, I’m pretty sure that Jeffersonville, Indiana doesn’t come to mind. Right across the Second Street Bridge over the Ohio River from Louisville, Jeffersonville has a sort of sleepy reputation, not possessing notable attractions nearby such as the Horseshoe Casino (just west of New Albany, aka Portland North) or even the Theatair X (that’s further north, in Clarksville). Yet Jeffersonville’s Sophomore Lounge Records is worth paying attention to, and not just for the eventuality that J’ville becomes the next music mecca.

Okay, just kidding. SL were nice enough to send their latest release, a split 7″ between Chicago-based Meah! and Louisville’s Phantom Family Halo. Now as a rule, I’m not a huge fan of split singles, as they’re usually not long enough a format for either band to express much. Honestly, I’m not big on split releases of any format in general. But this single gives a good impression of what to expect from either band (even though the PFH side is a cover of the Red Crayola‘s “Hurricane Fighter Plane.”)

That said, the impression I get of Meah!, with their two short songs on the first side of the split, isn’t particularly positive. While the trio definitely has instrumental skills, the first song “Kids/Summer” is probably a bit too wacky for my tastes. Second song “Mystics” brings Meah! into a little bit more acceptable territory, only by being close to a 1980s funk/punk style (think Minutemen or Big Boys, just not quite as good). Overall, though, I have to give them an A for effort, even if I wasn’t super-into it.

Being a huge fan of the Red Crayola, as well as appreciative of Phantom Family Halo, I didn’t know what exactly to expect of their B-side. “Hurricane Fighter Plane,” from the RC’s debut album The Parable of Arable Land, is probably their most iconic song, having been covered by numerous other bands. However, I wasn’t let down by Dom Cipola’s interpretation of a classic. There’s enough reverential space here to classify as a worthy version, plus a changed chord and excellent guitar work (by guest Benny Clark of the Broken Spurs) shows plenty of inventiveness to keep me interested.

Limited to 500. Order it from Sophomore Lounge here: http://sophomoreloungerecords.com/meahpfhsplit.html.

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