July 21, 2016 02:06 PM

Jim Pharis’ Sure to Offend, as a whole, is a bit like his neighbor’s answer to why he has so many guns on the song “Gun Rag” — nonchalant, cryptic, almost unwound and perhaps a bit jilted.

Sure to Offend’s cuts are live, non-overdubbed tracks of just Pharis and his guitar, with him utilizing his raw finger-picking style to weave tales of his life (or an imagined one) into vignettes and half-indictments of the current state of the nation. In the end, Pharis seems like that neighbor you try to avoid in the driveway because you just know he’s going to suck you into another black hole conversation.

A self-described songster, Pharis does not have the best vocals in the world — or even the room — but his honest, no-frills songwriting knows how to spin a good yarn. He’s not exactly humorous, but pretty witty. Instrumentals like “Mister Slippy” and “Convent Street Strut,” on the other hand, showcases his guitar abilities.

Left, right or perhaps in the middle, Pharis is seemingly telling you what’s on his mind. The high water mark of the conversation is the title track, where he says even if you just say you love cabbage you are sure to offend the anti-cabbage crowd. It’s enough to make him drink, saying that’s all he wants to do on “Whiskey.”

Jim, music is therapy so keep it up and leave your neighbors alone.


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