The cover art of Miniature World features a photograph of a petri dish cultivating the bacteria that Phobophobes swabbed from the oldest microphone they could find in Abbey Road Studios. The group had spent a day recording at the iconic venue, their minds clearly full of the romance and history of the location, as so many others have been. Nobody has ever had the idea of co-opting the residual DNA of their forefathers, though. It tells you everything you need to know about Phobophobes’ relationship with the past – they are indebted to it, morbidly obsessed perhaps, restlessly mining for ways to reinvent it, resuscitate it and give it new chance to breathe again.

The 6-piece band hail from South London, a petri dish in its own right, having brought to life so many of the most intriguing bands of the last few years: Fat White Family, HMLTD, Goat Girl, Dead Pretties, to name a few. Like so many of their contemporaries, they trade in disheveled, provocative, unruly rock ‘n’ roll debauchery, but few if any of their cohort are as eloquent or as musically focused. Miniature World is a streamlined, forceful debut that successfully captures everything that was initially promising about the band.

The keyboards of Chris OC, former member of cult favourites Meatraffle, haunt much of the album like a recurring nightmare, dressing the music with a nocturnal, crawling threat. Their spectral chimes ring in the opening track ‘Where Is My Owner’, which features frontman Jamie Taylor repeating the line, “I want to feel like I’m pretending”. That’s just it, Phobophobes aren’t pretending. Their songs are mini fables of the modern world, presenting our deteriorating, diseased society not cynically but with lucidity and bracing honesty. Think of them as The Moonlandingz with the performance art wryness bled dry.

“Child star, make your mother’s dreams come true,” sings Taylor on ‘Child Star’, whilst urgent, vice-like guitars grind underneath his words. Our obsession with celebrity and the shallowing of a culture’s ambitions are firmly in Phobophobes’ firing line here. Meanwhile, on ‘No Flavour’, Taylor spits, “canned meat, canned laughter, no taste or flavour”. The analogy can be stretched as far as you like – where DID all the substance go? Didn’t there used to be something to get excited about? It might be serious stuff, but they can’t be blamed for the times they live in.

There is plenty of sly fun to be had here too. Hell, there’s even a track called ‘The Fun’, a track oddly reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand’s 2005 track ‘The Fallen’. The absolute standout is ‘The Never Never’, a deliriously fun ear-catcher with OC’s organ-like keys claiming the centre stage. Never has a critique of the decline of public discourse been so danceable. The LOLs continue on ‘Human Baby’, in which Taylor scowls, “Laced with feigned faux socialism/Fairtrade cocaine in your system/Put it in the bin/Let the children fish it out”. The album’s most striking story is told on ‘Free the Naked Rambler’ (“It’s gonna be a shitshow/Will you marry me in a borrowed suit/With a borrowed attitude?”), although exactly who or what the naked rambler represents is conveniently left obscure. We even get a searing guitar solo, not Phobophobes’ go-to device, to sprinkle some apocalyptic drama over this curious, torrid tale.

All too often, early singles promise more than a full length album can deliver. Phobophobes have delivered and then built more stories on top so they can deliver some more. By the time those aforementioned bacteria become sentient and form their own band, Phobophobes might just belong on the list of Abbey Road greats.