Phemale, “Nyky and Hyry”

Phemale’s new video “Nyky and Hyry” is a glimpse at his forthcoming album Dullard, as well as the imagined world of Wet Hood. For those who are not familiar with Phemale, it is the solo project of New Haven’s Michael Donahue, who has just released his twelfth full-length album, City Silk on Connecticut’s own Redscroll Records as well as a tape, Everything’s Haunted on Elm Recordings simultaneously.

As with most of his work, the two releases are strikingly different. The much anticipated City Silk adheres to a traditional pop and ballad structure, while Everything’s Haunted shows his penchant for experimental tape collage. Donahue’s astonishing repertoire is written from the perspective of characters that exist only in a world that he created, called Wet Hood.

Phemale performs live dressed up in his own hand made costumes as the different outré inhabitants of Wet Hood. “Nyky and Hyry” transports us from our world to his, by telling the heart-wrenching story of Nyky, a pet freak by trade (it is considered prestigious for the wealthy beings of Wet Hood to have such pets). His cruel owner Charlotte pays him in rocks after parading him around town.

Now without money and bruised knees, he must seek the help of a shaman who lives in the beach. Along the way, his friend Raymond provides him with a walking stick to aid him in his journey. A witch named Dahndra transports him to the beach, where the magical shaman provides a special crystal that delivers him from his pain. It is there that he sees his soul mate, summoning him to the sea, where they sit and hold hands watching the sunset.

Kern’s strong vision guides the tale beautifully. The track plays like a warped music box and you can almost imagine the downtrodden Nyky as the sad ballerina dancing forever in circles inside. Both the video and the track balance the strange and the delicate masterfully.

-by Jane Chardiet