In an age of hyper-stimulated doom-scrolling and over-polished social media stars, humble Hoboken three piece Phoneboy are all about living in the moment. Singer/guitarists Wyn Barnum and Ricky Dana met at a tiny technical college lacking much of an indie scene. Pulling in Wyn’s childhood friend, bassist James Fusco, the three college boys bonded over a love of midwest emo. But while you may find a tinge of that teen angst that comes with youth, Phoneboy are ready to turn up.
Phoneboy’s early efforts quickly earned a following on social media. Serving as a de facto street team, fraternity brothers shared the band’s breakout, ACID GIRL far and wide. Before they knew it these floppy haired crooners had racked up over a million streams across the web. It’s the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that makes you think the internet wasn’t such a bad idea. “There’s definitely a tension there,” says Wyn, speaking to social media. “There’s all this distraction, all this fake fun everybody’s pretending to have, but at the same time the discovery potential is insane.”
Coming of age in a global pandemic, the band sure are sharing lots of experiences. Remote learning has offered them plenty of time to work on their sound; flipping through files on yes, their phones, to piece together bits and bobs of riffs and licks. It’s commendable to come off so easy breezy in these uncertain times, but Phoneboy makes it look like no big deal. Their joyous jams and shuffling beats come right on time to get your butt off the couch.
You wouldn’t call them old souls, but their youthful exuberance is deepened by an already wisened sense of pop-production and alternative song craft. Pairing a 90’s art aesthetic against a fresh clean sound, these phoneboys are ready to bust out beyond TikTok. And with perfectly crafted hip-shaking singalongs like these, maybe we can all take a break from the endless notifications, put our phones done for once, and finally get back out on the floor.