Phantoms - Phantoms
Phantoms don't tend to follow the rules. Their songs are not straight up love songs, often not even love songs at all, and they don't follow some of the usual electronic tropes of taking back the night. Their music is crisp, hip and synth providing layers and layers of depth while still maintaining a scaled down sound. From the first track you are pulled into their world: swirling LA nightlife, perfect bodies, damaged minds and broken hearts. It's all at once terrifying and beautiful. Even the tracks like "Downtown" which almost slide closer to the EDM side of things have this darkness and interesting ability to really show you exactly the picture that Phantoms want to show you. It is really quite fascinating how they can pull you from a sweet female vocal on one track into an all out dance music blitz but they make it work, and work well. A cover of Eric Clapton's "Cocaine" is the one track that feels a bit forced out of the pack. Not that it isn't well done, but it just feels like territory that has been covered time and time again and is something below their level of talent. The House vibes however are so incredibly satisfying, transporting you instantly to the crowded dance floor.
The real standout of the record however is the collaboration with Vérité "Just a Feeling". Her vocals fit so well with Phantoms style of music it is fantastic. The song almost oozes anxiety and feeling letting Vérité expose herself wide open while this pulsing beat forces everything constantly forward. When you are trying to place Phantoms musically the best place seems to be a mix of Odesza, Rufus du Sol and House music. Odesza for the trippier electronic sounds, Rufus for the spacey vocals and House, because well at the soul of everything Phantoms do dance seems to always be number one. You can hear the strings that are going to attach and make this record really unified when it is performed live, but the album version can be a bit clunky in the transitions at times. This really is a great debut and one from an LA band on the rise. Don't be surprised if you start hearing Phantoms pop up on Indie radio in the very, very near future.
8.0 out of 10