by Niccolo Dante Porcello (@niccoloporcello)
Released in July, P.H.F.’s delightfully airy and weird-pop record I Hate Myself marks the first record in a number of years from the New Zealand quartet. With heavily affected vocals, emo-revival adjacent guitar lines, and a penchant for waves of distortion, P.H.F. deal in nearly all of the elements of currently popular whatever-wave. I Hate Myself is uniquely their own, however, and across 11 tracks P.H.F. carve out a particularly pleasant record.
Premiering here, the video for album standout “tru” is an occasionally grotesque and often jarring collection of tape in the found-footage-bricolage style. As far as visual accompaniments go, the video for “tru” is a fitting visual pairing with the song’s lyrical and sonic structure. Any thematic coherence to be found in the video exists in the returning motif of slo-mo destruction, be it of cars, jet fighters, or in a particularly arresting sequence, the implosion of a nuclear reactor’s cooling towers. Dashboard camera footage of collisions with deer, dogs eating raw chicken, and assorted viscera all make appearances, seamlessly tying in with P.H.F.’s elliptical waves of distortion and clarity. Subtitles appear throughout that have no relation to the lyrics of the song, adding to the somewhat unnerving experience, and lending “tru” something of a 3rd dimension.
To be sure, as unsettling as bricolage can be, it achieves its purpose as a mirror on P.H.F.’s discontent. As two cars crash head on and grainy closeups of cigarettes, mix with slo-mo of someone getting punched, its interpolated with the lyric the lyric “I been scared for a long time that you might leave // I think I’d sooner stay home // I lied so many times this week”, there is surely a bit of resolution in the moment.
P.H.F.'s I Hate Myself is out now via Danger Collective Records.