Analog Adventures: Manchild
About the Artist
The term manchild is not always nice. William Faulkner first used manchild in his book The Sound and the Fury to describe the intellectually disabled 33 year old Benjy Compson. The term has evolved from its debatably ableist origins to mean an irresponsible young man that centers himself over others. The manchild has trouble holding down a job, causing him to borrow money with no intention of paying it back. The manchild may engage in expensive hedonistic hobbies such as video games, tuning cars, or illicit drug use. Physically he is a man, but mentally he is still dependent on everyone around him.
Phum Viphurit is not a manchild in this sense. He is a manchild defined by his sense of imagination.
Phum Viphurit is originally from Bangkok, educated in New Zealand, and now back in Bangkok. Despite being only 24 years old, Phum sings with the maturity and experience of a much older man. His voice glistens atop a green mountain of music. The style of music is often classified as neo-soul, which only begins to describe the music in which he writes. Whatever the genre may be, the music is tight and polished. His band are top-rate musicians and provide excellent support to boost his expressive and bombastic songs to new heights.
The Album Itself
Manchild is Phum Viphurit’s debut album, and it begins with a hit. Strangers in a Dream takes a daydream that we all have, fantasizing about what life would be like with a total stranger, and wraps it up in a sincere package. The album retains a sense of tonal consistency through out, even when the band takes a break and Phum plays by himself with an acoustic guitar. Moments like The Art of Detaching One’s Heart prove the strength of his songwriting. It’s as basic as an arrangement can get but still impacts the listener with full-force. There are no studio tricks here to dress up lackluster songs; they’re all this good. The subject matter tends to lean on the young love and heartbreak themes present in most pop music, but the distinct lack of cliches make the tired into the wired. The lyrics are crafted with such care that if any word is cut out, it would fall apart. This is a testament to the level of artistry Phum has achieved, and given his age, one can speculate how much better he will become.
The album cover and the record itself.
The cover art is an expired Polaroid instant shot with Phum in the bottom left hand corner at a carnival. The cover is a matte finish that is satisfying to the touch. The analog appearance fits the theme of the album quite well. The disc is a hefty 180 grams with a gorgeous orange swirl pattern. The record is quiet, with little surface noise present at all. The excellent physical presentation of the record compliments a great collection of music.
Hold on loose, don’t grip me so tight. I’ve got no wings to fly but this spirit’s taking flight. – Phum Viphurit, Long Gone.
Is It Worth It?
Manchild is an example of an extremely limited pressing. The numbers are not in on the first pressing, but the repressing is limited to 300. Currently prices are hovering around the $70 range, so if you are unsure if this is the record for you, stream it. If not, this is an excellent addition to any collection.
- Strangers in a Dream
- Paper Throne
- Long Gone