Between climate disasters, attacks on human rights, seemingly never-ending pandemic tribulations, and, well, literally everything else, the onslaught of news feels harder to stomach with each “ding” of another notification.
For Phantomelo, it feels like swimming with sharks as they watch you bleed out.
“One thing that I didn’t realize was getting to me was, every morning I reached over to my phone to turn off the alarm and then notifications for the news were there, and it was just so fucking depressing and painful to read,” front man Will Rakkar says. “And I was starting my morning off like that like every day.”
Overwhelmed by the endless consumption of distressing coverage flooding our timelines — a modern magnifying glass for our leaders’ inaction — the band found the grace period for processing the hellscape we’re all living through is virtually non-existent. They arrived at a belief that “unregulated capitalism’s chokehold on America” is intentionally perpetuated by our politicians’ prioritizing wealthy donor money over actual representation gives us no respite.
“When these traumatic events happen, it’s like a smack in the face,” Rakkar says. “You kind of have to take a moment to readjust and find your balance again, but we don’t have time to do that anymore.”
Their solution? A raucous, fist-to-the-gills mantra for setting boundaries.
Produced by Taylor Tatsch and mastered by Rick Greenwood, “Shark Attack,” with its crunchy riffs and single line of lyrics, hits like a riptide washing somewhere near the shoreline of Wavves’ King of The Beach era. It’s doomscrolling exasperation slightly tempered with a breezy surf-rock bite.
“It’s become very numbing to hear news headlines, but that doesn’t stop me from creating some kind of art to pull out that emotion instead of feeling apathetic,” bassist Panda Cuenca says. “I’m going to reflect that back through my art — ‘Shark Attack’ is a rage song.”
Still, you’re more likely to have your own encounter with an apex predator than to ever find Phantomelo numbed to the point of losing their playful energy.
The music video for “Shark Attack” was filmed at Bedford’s Metroplex Wrestling by Irving-based Coffee Pot Films, and finds the trio in a triple threat wrestling match, each playing their own campy character clad in spandex and ball gags. Rakkar, Cuenca and drummer Jeff Gerardi step into the ring as “Stink,” “Pipishego” and “Two-Timing Larry” respectively, to face off against one another before becoming prey to a rip-roaring Shark Attack.
Despite the always-present looming threat, the band hasn’t given into pessimism.
“I think it’ll get better,” Rakkar says. “But I am no longer going to be having that morning shark attack kickstart my day — I just get that from my coffee now.”
“Shark Attack” is available on all streaming platforms.