Prolific New Zealand musician P.H.F. (formerly Perfect Hair Forever) has given fans a taster of what to expect with his next album, sharing new single “Sabbath Shirt” this week.
The musical moniker of Auckland’s Joe Locke, P.H.F. has curated quite a back catalogue over the years, with eclectic, genre-hopping compositions appearing at every turn. While 2021 brought with it the release of Unplugged, P.H.F.’s most recent full-length album of originals came by way of 2020’s New Metal, which focused heavily on guitars and traditional instrumentation.
However, new single “Sabbath Shirt” again appears as something of a reinvention for the Kiwi artist, teaming up with hyperpop-punk hero Fantasyluv for a dizzying dive into the frenetic, experimental, and refreshing.
Warped synths and distorted vocals make it a track that would effortlessly sit alongside the likes of 100 gecs, while the lyrical focuses serves as a rumination on grief, loss, and anxiety – a mesmerising dichotomy between the exuberant musicianship and the introspective lyricism: “I put your Sabbath shirt on and play your favourite song/And even though youʼre gone Iʼll still sing along till I fall“.
Officially released this week, “Sabbath Shirt” is set to appear on P.H.F.’s forthcoming album, Purest Hell, which serves as a love letter to Locke’s close friend and long-term collaborator Reuben Samuel Winter (milk, Totems) who passed away in September 2020.
Expanding upon his already-impressive back-catalogue, Purest Hell is yet another stylistic shift for P.H.F., with his musical experimentation – that is, shredding guitar, careening breakbeat chops, and hefty electronics – being used as a way of processing his grief and feeling closer to his lost friend.
P.H.F.’s “Sabbath Shirt” is out now, while new album Purest Hell, will be released on May 27th via Danger Collective Records.