Philemic – Why’d You Have To Look So Good: EP Review

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With a sound that’s much more Manchester than Berlin, Philemic are the German capital’s latest indie upstarts.

The five-piece group started out back in 2015, originally as a self-described ‘psy-rock’ outfit, although their sound has since evolved greatly. The current format, marshalled by vocalist / guitarist Caner Mican, is about as delightful a slice of indie-pop you’re likely to find this side of the Brexit curtain.

As delightful a slice of indie-pop you’re likely to find this side of the Brexit curtain.

Philemic’s debut release, Why’d You Have To Look So Good, is an EP as preppy as its name. Opening track ‘Party Analyst’ jumps into life with a rolling, funk-laden bassline, leading into a fizzing firework of a track. Mican’s vocals are the stand-out element from the moment they chime in, his high range and mournful lilt evoking memories of The Smiths and Joy Division all the more.

There’s even a synth-heavy breakdown and some Foals-esque guitar noodling for those with more modern proclivities. The song has all the makings of a single and goes a long way to explaining why the EP Release Party – at Maze back in October 2018 – sold out in advance, despite there being no back catalogue.

The EP Release Party – at Maze back in October 2018 – sold out in advance.

‘Girls On Bikes’ is an equally well-oiled ear worm, borrowing heavily from more recent British indie animals The Wombats and The Pigeon Detectives. ‘Remember when you had a crush on your dreams?’, croons Mican, before a plaintive, space-synth break.

The references to a British persuasion continue in closing ballad ‘You’. ‘Cold sparks lying on the ground / Blue lights up in front / Hope the boys didn’t pick you up’ are lines that sound much more comfortable with an English patois, yet Mican pulls it off impressively.

Perhaps as Europe bids ‘bis später‘ to its friends over the channel, Philemic will keep the Anglo spirit alive.

Perhaps as Europe bids ‘bis später‘ to its friends over the channel, Philemic will keep the Anglo spirit alive in the dingy venues of Berlin. To make up your own mind, you can catch them in a support slot at Kantine am Berghain on February 7.

Luke began writing about music for his university paper while studying in England’s cold, post-industrial North. He became a regular reviewer of new releases, live shows, theatre and film, before moving to the big, grey blob of London. He has written indie and electronica reviews for indieBerlin since arriving in Berlin in 2017, while pursuing other freelance writing, editing and communications projects (and struggling to learn German). You can follow Luke here and read his recent reviews here.

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