New York’s head knocking, dream pop duo, Phantogram, return with an electronic masterpiece. ‘Three’, blends soul and jazz elements, seamlessly with trip-hop style production. Each track has an explosion of varied styles and influences that will leave any creator shaking in their boots.
In addition, Phantogram joins the likes of Tame Impala and Crystal Castles, by releasing through Fiction Records. ‘Three’ provides the listener with an eclectic mix of synth explosions and instrumental mastery. Phantogram takes to the road in the UK in November 2016. Calling at Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow and a show at London’s Heaven on Wednesday 16th November. More info available at: FictionRecords.co.uk
Firstly, No points for guessing that ‘Three’ is the third in the series of Phantogram’s genre blending, albums. Their second record, ‘Voices’, released in 2014, established Phantogram as one of the most exciting players within the alternative music scene. Having voyaged the four corners of the globe; playing huge shows such as Firefly, Lollapoollza, and Coachella. In addition to opening for Alt-J at Maddison square gardens, Phantogram also toured with Muse in 2015.
Furthermore, they have been contributing to and collaborating with some of the biggest names in the game. Everyone from A-Trak and Kanye West to the Flaming Lips and Big Boi of Outkast. It has been hard to avoid all the hype that surrounds Phantogram and the release of their new album. The arrival of ‘Three’ surely lives up to all the expectation.
Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel (Phantogram’s creative duo) seamlessly flow from one style to the other. The record truly excites the mind and somehow offers something profoundly new. One moment they are floating through a hazy, hypnotic vibe. And the next they take you to a fiesta themed, gospel, break down. Carter and Barthel are both obviously virtuosos of a number of old school styles and new wave electronic techniques. ‘Three’ offers contributions from jazz and soul to doomy rock and grime. All with a hip-hop undertone and a punchy backbone.
The album flows perfectly start to finish, each track offering a blend of different genres and themes. That said, there are also some notable songs worth mentioning too. Most of all, the tracks that show off the indie duo’s sublime musicianship. Firstly ‘Cruel World’. Starting as a tantalising piano accompaniment and a jazzy vocal delivery. Then BOOM. They hit you with the hip hop, funky groove. Ground-breaking production, not too polished and very raw.
‘Answer’ has to be the second track to mention. A soul searching ballad. Chilled and laid back with a smooth flow. The resonance builds with huge elevation and dynamic explosions. Similar to that moment when Slash walks out of the church in ‘November rain’ and smashes into the guitar solo. The beauty of the build is contrasted by dirty guitars, sample jerks, and slow scratching. At times the song jumps, which makes you check the record for blemishes or for internet lag (depending on your choice of music consumption.) The track is hidden with many audio amazements and double takes, that only gets better with repeated plays.
If you are a patron of Zane Lowes Beat 1 radio show (if not you should check it out!) you may have heard Phantogram’s latest single ‘You don’t get me high anymore’. Zane premiered the new single last week, as a result, the video has had over a million views. Music lovers have taken to the darkened tones and deeply layered sonic qualities within the track. The title of the track is undoubtedly a reference to addiction. But also gives off a general underlined feeling of redundancy from the mainstream pop culture.
In conclusion, if you are a virgin to Phantogram this track hooks you on their infectious beats, audio mastery, and gut-wrenching Indie power. If you are familiar with their progressive dark atmospheres, this album is Phantogram at their best.
‘Three’ is out on the 7th October 2016 via new UK label – Fiction Records.
This Phantogram article was written by Chris Harris, a GIGsoup contributor. Photo credit : Timothy Saccenti