Another communication breakdown on my part means I’m possibly filing the latest review of The Phantom Band’s new album The Wants. Surely, there’s some cache in being the last as opposed to rushing to be first? Seriously, I’ve been busting to rave about this. I’m sure I lost followers on Twitter as a result of my constant insistence that they all get ready to rush out and buy this very, very special piece of work. Now everyone has it*, and loves it. Suppose, I get to have that special perspective of having lived with it for a bit. And, I can categorically state that it’s not just the novelty of the new. These nine songs just keep getting better. And it was awesome on first listen.
Opening with A Glamour, a world-weary glam-stomp of a track (and no that’s not a contradiction in terms) with one of the most haunting refrains at the end is a damn strong statement of intent. This is a looser but just as massive Phantom Band. Even a bit more obviously playful. I can’t be the only one to feel there are echoes of the frog chorus in Everybody Knows It’s True. Can I? Really infuriatingly catchy.
As is the sense of striving in Mr Natural. As with all their songs, I have no idea what they are about, but this is just the sound of reaching for something. What, I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. It’s the trying that matters. Come Away In The Dark is one in the eye for those that looked at me as if I was mad for insisting they’re essentially a folk band. It’s darned pretty too. There are few bands could get away with closer Goodnight Arrow. Which starts like the Blue Nile should have sounded and ends HUGE. No other word for it.
Yes, there are four other tracks. I could have waxed lyrical about them all.
Of course, the greatest achievement about this is that it followed so closely (barely 18 months) on the tail of the majestic beast that is debut Checkmate Savage. No ‘difficult second album’ syndrome. Just another intelligent work with more ideas in one song than most bands have in a lifetime. At this rate, next one early 2012. Can’t wait.