Tuesday, 19 October 2010

(The) Phantom Band – The Wants


Get a grip, popular music. I mean, look at the fucking state of you. Seriously, come on. We gave you such a long length of rope in the 1990s and for parts of the 2000s you almost were breached by some of our “darling indie bands” but they themselves fell under your spell. These days popular music is nothing but a pastiche, almost a parody of it’s self – it is indeed beyond parody now with clones upon clones of the same music entering at number one week in week out and labels are constantly looking at the internet to try and predict exactly how the tide will turn. These days of Twitter and instant feedback suddenly we are all the same collective hive mind and those fans what would’ve just bought the records are suddenly able to sound off about how much they “luv Bibier omG fukin luv him” in a cacophony of intense infinite and incessant imbeciles.


So pop music, get a fucking grip. Check into rehab, gather your thoughts, and come out next year ready for a change. In the meantime bands like the Phantom Band are quietly producing some of the decade’s first exceptional songs and collating it into an, almost archaic, best-of-the-year list album. For the demise of the album just look at the EA Sports style releases of the Lady Gaga, Rihanna and the aforementioned “Bibier”, with their 2.0 and 3.0 versions of “Art” for the required evidence needed for the cultural cease and desist.

The Phantom Band hail not only from my city of birth but also from the record label that has given Scotland and Glasgow some of the greatest home grown wing-spreading in the past 15 years. With the release of their debut album Checkmate Savage there was a glimpse of a band that for a short while would be playing and creating music as wild and speculative as any imaginable. There was a rugged feel to the album and it had it’s moments and to be honest I didn’t see them releasing anything like it again – and I was right and I was wrong. The Wants is the perfect sequel to Savage but unlike most Hollywood sequels this album isn’t more is better but different is better. There are lines drawn from here to there that will tell you this is a Phantom Band album, with the crooning vocals and small electronic signature bleeps here and there, but in essence this album is like what we were promised music would be like in the future. This is the future and it’s not like this all the time. The Wants is not going to be for everyone for several reasons:

- Everyone is an idiot.
- It’s a difficult album to easily understand
- And it will consume your life like a Japanese demonic spirit.

So, polarising it might be for the unlearned masses, but whereas Arcade Fire might’ve fucked up their new album by missing the mark entirely, coming under Be Here Now syndrome and forgetting to install an editor as well as a producer, this album’s concise nine track length forgoes that need for more and gives us more. If that makes sense then I have made my point.

Pop music, get a fucking grip. Until it is discharged with a clean bill of health we can enjoy this album, this band, and their little nugget of anarchy while no one is looking. The Wants is exactly what we need.

1 comment:

  1. mmm. i'll give this a listen - i enjoyed the last phantom band album, but it was the kind of album i found myself never really going back to.

    i think you've kind of half hit on an interesting point regarding twitter and stuff. it's like, we're at the ultimate of zeitgeist, and maybe it's just me living in london (itself painfully zeitgeist-y), but hype more and more leaves out unfashionable bands, and the phantom band are quite unfashionable, i'm sure you'd agree. maybe it's suffocating the sort of music we'd go for because it doesn't really go well with oversize glasses and your mum's cardigan?

    ReplyDelete