Phantogram - Ceremony
To this day one of my favorite Coachella sets ever was Phantogram at the Outdoor stage. Their star was waning at the time, having released Voices three years earlier and after Three was a bit of a disappointment. The show was epic; soaring vocals, big bass as well as stunning visuals. At one point the entire stage was consumed by fire on every single screen only Sarah Barthel's silhouette outlined amongst it all. It gave me a new appreciation for Phantogram and earned them a forever fan. After that performance however things have been a bit rocky. Three came out in 2016 to a mixed reception and since the band have been pretty quiet. With these things in mind I was skeptical about what kind of album they would return with, but I am happy to report Ceremony picks up right where Voices left off. Since that first album it felt like Phantogram had lost some of their edge. The lyrics weren't as cutting and the production tended to focus on being precise rather than raw. With Phantogram you want booming bass and extreme sounds to swirl around Bathel's haunting vocals. This album has that in spades. Each new song feels more and more like Phantogram and you slide into to loving them more and more. This record feels infused with the drama of living, rather than just putting out music to keep up their brand this record feels more personal than anything they have done before.
Now there are some bumps on this record as well. Whenever Josh Carter sings, let's be frank, it's bad. It's always somewhat distorted and deadpan adding nothing to whatever song He features on. His voice and vibe just suck all the energy out of the room and leave it lying on the floor with a thud. He only features on a couple of tracks so, don't worry you won't have to listen to him all that long. The rest of the album really cooks and is a big step in the right direction for this band. Hopefully people will now sit up and listen.
8.0 out of 10