by Cory Enderby
Physick, a band based out of Sugar Hill, Georgia is comprised of Michael Minkoff, Jr. and Phil Hodges. For whatever reason, I feel like I was drawn to this band for a purpose, as I initially clicked on what would be some of my favorite songs they’ve written. Otherwise, I may have been a little more inclined to move on because of their diverse style and approach to music, in which many of the songs did not quickly grab me—and because of my synonymousness with the world, where if a song doesn’t hook in the first five seconds, we move on. However, now that I have some time under my belt listening to them, I have a better appreciation for their writing and depth of contribution to the Christian music industry. Alongside his father, Michael is also the founder of The Nehemiah Foundation for Cultural Renewal, Inc., which is a great resource for not only music, but his writings, which as noted in his mission statement, is to “liberate Christian creativity”. Michael has also authored three books, including a book of poetry, which includes the following piece:
A window keeps blocking
a ponderous moth
whose reflection still
on its tattered-sail wings
veined like crumpled leaves.
It’s beating the air on the longing side
of an unbreachable display case;
should be happy to have a desire
untainted by having.
That moth tattoos its delicate dust
in cryptic splotches on the pane,
while I confess to the window,
blind and just,
who suspends these faint records
of relentless failure.
—from The Landfill of Discount Messiahs
The other half of the band, Phil Hodges, studied classical guitar performance, and also claims to be drawn to the "melody, musical composition, and arrangement aspects of the writing"—and it shows. In all honesty, when listening to their music, I get drawn into more of an experience, rather than a performance. At times, one may feel as if they’re listening to jazz, and then other times, indie and prog rock—or even the Beatles; and this could all happen in one song. With four releases available on their Bandcamp page (actually two with Death is Their Shepherd offering three separate components), I find myself being drawn to three songs. In fact, on one, I found myself playing it for everyone I could and just kept hitting the repeat button. Battling Cancer, which is off their Song for Friends album, ministered to and impacted me in a tremendous way—and still does. The other two are Memento Mori and Answer Me.
Songs for Friends is Physick’s first record and their website discusses that it is about “various friends in various circumstances”. For example, in Battling Cancer, they are clearly singing about a friend who is engaged in a war with cancer. Lyrics, like, “I’ve never stared death in the eye” and “You’ve never been more like Christ” just brought goose bumps all over me as I am writing this. The music and the lyrics for this track are authentic and sublime. Death is Their Shepherd is the latest release, and features 21 tracks going over 80 minutes in length. Physick describe the album as being “a fully narrative concept album following the journey of Zakary Adamson as he is led by personified Death through his own memories and human history—exploring the significance and weight of death”. Though highly admirable, Songs for Friends is a little more on the raw side, and the newer material has a more accomplished and monumental feel to it. Overall, I am blessed that I came across these artists and Michael’s Renew the Arts endeavor. I encourage you to take the time to listen to their music, and what they are doing to impact the arts for Christ. These guys are rare birds.
(information sourced from their Renew the Arts, Facebook and Bandcamp page)