Tag Archives: The Phantom Band

2010 Retrospect: The Phantom Band – ‘The Wants’

13 Jan

Ermmm two hands coming out of a cauldron. Pretty self explanatory really!

The Phantom Band – ‘The Wants

(Chemikal Underground/ Other Tongues)

This is a review penned by The Quilted Generation at some point during 2010. We will be revisiting some of those reviews over the next few weeks as a way to draw your attention to some of those albums you might have missed in the year gone by. Enjoy.

The Phantom Band’s 2009 debut Checkmate Savage was a rough-yet-transient effort that sketched out the band’s future without laying down any real or impressive foundations. It’s a surprise then when the Glaswegian sextet return stronger, bolder and ultimately darker on their sophomore album The Wants; a dark and intimate tryst into the realms of mesmeric, dense and unmistakably rewarding songwriting.
Opener A Glamour fizzles from the start and the almost primal, tribal beating of the Damien Tonner’s tom-toms sets the bar. It unrelentingly throbs throughout, building towards a synth-laden, guitar-driven coda that pushes expectations further. And as the pulsating energy subsides into the new wave inflections of O it is replaced by yet more sonic invention, with the emphasis now on vocals as Rick Anthony experiments with pitch and range. The sheer level of experimentation both electronically, vocally and structurally is impressive but what is more striking is the band’s ability to confine such trials. Although long and meandering, each note and whirl is tightly controlled, meaningful and purposeful.
Whether it be the folk heavy Come Away In The Dark, the acoustically built The None Of One or the processed beats of Into The Corn the whole album seems to come together as one. Weird that. Indeed, it seems that throughout the entire album The Phantom Band do their best to transmogrify themselves just enough to keep us on our toes – not so much them thinking outside the box musically but more thinking about the box itself and helping make that box as interesting and relevant as possible without fucking about with its parameters too much. As elusive as this comes across upon first listen, it’s refreshing and will eventually be the reason you reach for the play button again after the album crashes to a halt.