Phestur's new LP is the musical equivalent of an aging mullethead telling you he's into the hot new stuff -- "You know, like Nirvana." Kurt Cobain killed himself when he realized that, rather than obliterating bands like this, he was influencing them. The hard-edged modern-rock troupe is only three years old, and while its third album isn't exactly stuck in the '80s, the trio's attempts to grow beyond its bar-band roots just fizzle.
"Song for the Departed" bites a Nirvana-like guitar jangle, then tries to get punky with it. "I hate you/Everything about you/Fuck yooooouuu," singer-guitarist Adam Hines bleats, falling far short of Seattle, further still from 2003, and landing deep in Ugly Kid Joe territory. Equally ineffective is Phestur's take on the blues standard "In the Pines (Where Did You Sleep Last Night)," a track that leaves us wondering if the homage is to Leadbelly or Cobain. "I can't take this anymore," Hines whimpers on "In Youth." Neither can we.