‘PHÆWAY, VOL. 1’ is Phaemous' early contender for year-end lists [Pulse EP Review]

By execution, the EP seems to either document unique experiences or a topsy-turvy relationship that ends on ‘Wise (Over),’ where Phaemous gives up.

‘PHÆWAY, VOL. 1’ is an early contender for year-end lists by Phaemous. (EMPIRE)

In his head is a case of ‘hearts’ told via personal tales of love, sex, attraction and hedonism. In his lungs is air to power an attractive range lyric tenor. He is blessed with an ability to deliver records like a superstar and he is backed by UCEE and Afro Selecta, two super-talented producers in a Nigerian [Abuja] niche market.

By execution, the EP seems to either document unique experiences or a topsy-turvy relationship that ends on ‘Wise (Over),’ where Phaemous gives up. If these songs were inspired by true stories, then Phaemous has quite an interesting life.

Even though he confesses to being a “hopeless romantic” on ‘Forbidden,’ Phaemous is mostly affectionate with emotional distance. However, he projects his emotions with unabated, commendable authenticity - even when his emotions aren’t pretty.

He projects pain with happiness, hides his sadness with sex and his often aloof demeanour to love with affectionate innuendos.

On ‘Island Pink,’ his idea of romance and sex is tainted by his lacklustre demeanour. Yet, the girl seems to like it. Through romance, he seems to obtain power and comfort, almost like a dominant in a BDSM situation.

He sings, “Asking me to give her some of my shxx, ayy...” like he derives joy from his sexual potency and projects it via control without flexing this subtle tendency.

When he confesses his need for fellatio and cunninglingus on ‘Below,’ he sings, “Let me indulge ya…” like he faced a conquest.

Even with a broken heart on ‘Violet’ featuring Drayko, he was still keen to maintain some sense of self against the woman. He sings, “Oh you stuck in time, ghost of your own past…”

It’s also quite creative, how he used a violet heart as a metaphor for heartache.

Sometimes, he lets go of control and dives head first into his emotions. On ‘Endorphins’ he confesses, “I still miss the smell of your perfume when you leave in the morning…”

An equal parts R&B and Ballad record, ‘Running’ documents the point of collision. With adlibs, Phaemous swears “On God…” with his full chest. He didn’t only seek to interest this woman with promises, he is peculiar that, “...This is something that you have been missing…”

However, those moments are few and far between.

Although he admits that, “Nobody needs to know, when it’s just you in my heart…” on ‘Forbidden,’ he is also willing to sacrifice that love for solitude, accompanied by music from a portable Miniso speaker. He seems like an unlucky lover; a victim to a stoic woman.

His instrumental choices and his matching astute delivery are infectious enough to distract a listener from his lyrics. When that happens, a listener knows that he or she just played something amazing.

Also commendably, when he made the dance-tinged songs, he deftly blended in Pidgin for relatability. That said, he needs to be more audible with his lyrics.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

8.8 - Champion

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