Personnel: William Keegan (vocals, guitar); Erik Jimenez (vocals, drums); Danny Bengston (vocals); Roland Cosio (guitar).
Audio Mixer: Philip Broussard.
Recording information: Golden Beat Studio (04/22/2015/04/23/2015); King Size North, Los Angeles, CA (04/22/2015/04/23/2015); The Ocotillo (04/22/2015/04/23/2015).
After getting bigger and heavier on their major-label debut, 2014's Badillac, together PANGEA sound relatively lean and mean on The Phage, a six-song EP that finds them once again recording for uber-cool indie/garage label Burger Records. The Phage sounds tighter and less willfully obnoxious than together PANGEA's earliest work, but the garage rock melodies and punk rock-informed speed and smirk reflect the most effective sides of their personality better than Badillac's relative polish, and while they can successfully dip into hard rock territory on numbers like "She's a Queen" or British Invasion-influenced pop on "If You're Scared," for the most part there's a suitable level of bounce in the material that keeps this music propulsive and pogo-friendly. Tommy Stinson of the Replacements produced The Phage, and he makes the most of William Keegan and Roland Cosio's guitars and the strong, no-nonsense rhythm section of Danny Bengston (bass) and Erik Jimenez (drums), keeping the sound crisp and vital without weighing down the band and its songs. And together PANGEA have a real knack for worthwhile songs; while they run through six tracks in just a shade over 20 minutes, the melodies stick in the ear, there's a pleasing diversity in the hooks and guitar figures, and when these guys have something in particular to say (usually about women), they're articulate and funny without seeming thick-headed. The Phage is the work of a fine band whose members have found their feet and are happy to be playing to their strengths; this record many not make together PANGEA rich, but it's a lot more fun than Badillac's unsuccessful reach for the brass ring. ~ Mark Deming