The Phantom Band - The Wants - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Phantom Band - The Wants

by Steve Reynolds Rating:9.5 Release Date:2010-10-18

Last year there were some good albums, one of the best being the debut by The Phantom Band - 'Checkpoint Savage'. A wonderous LP, full of clever beats, quirky guitar sounds and off kilter harmonies. They follow it up with a suitably dark/light affair and the tub thumping on opener 'A Glamour' is both blood-curdling and bright, all rammed into six and a half minutes.

The Phantom band have carved out their own niche sound and the crisp production, minimal drumming and lack of guitar solos enhance the band's reputation as being bold, creative and not afraid to go out on a limb. 'O' is a beautifully haunting number with a funeral-esque feel, a feeling of walking in dead man's shoes but the small refrain of electronic bleeps and dots ensures it's not a uncomfortable ride of complete doom and darkness.

Its not hard to see why the critics love their sound as the band are distinctly using an array of instruments that aren't used for the sake of it but add to the beauty of the records. Hear the light tender touches of the xylophone on 'Everybody Knows It's True' and you'll understand how they introduce it at a key time for the listener. The album's signature and wig-out is 'The None of One', it has a startling a lack of pace but suddenly erupts a couple of minutes in and their mix of folk, electronic, Rick Anthony's blackened baritone vocals and a clever keyboard solo brings the curtain down on a vainglorious epic.

The Wants certainly express a huge progression in the confidence of The Phantom Band's output. Their sound is more confident and it shows they're not afraid to lay this down with the almost rock sounding 'Mr Natural', but this is as near as you'll get to them being pedal-to-the medal rock as they curtail it with a collection of electronic squelchs, irritatingly good pulses and sheet metal percussion against a crunching guitar fuzz fade out. Phew.

It's a million miles away from 'Come Away in the Dark' with its melancholy, simplistic, stripped-down acoustic guitar and threadbare sound. Anthony's doubled-up vocals still manage to deliver a haunting and beautiful ode. 'Walls' emerges as a song that changes direction for the band. It's almost anthemic mix of hypnotic bottom heavy bass compliments the roomy drums perfectly while the soothing vocals lighten up the song against the blissed-out feeling that the track leaves you with. 'Into the Corn' is a sharp number with a diagonal jack-knifed keyboard bleep which drives through the heart of the song while Anthony speaks of gregarious bonding and the black farewell that it produces. Amazingly the sombre lyrics don't fit in or reflect the sound of the song - a true testament to the musicianship on show here.

Rounding things off is 'Goodnight Arrow', a triumphant closer and once again a change of tack. Using the standard guitar, bass and drums format, they don't just dawdle with the set-up but use it to their advantage and the somewhat church-like harmonies leave you breathless. It's a huge leap forward for The Phantom Band, but one they have taken very confidently. They still have the sound which made their debut so wonderful but have taken it to another level with a demonstration of maturity.

A fantastic album, one of the best in 2010.

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