Phantogram - Eyelid Movies
In 2008, upstate New York was responsible for giving us our best album of the year with Ra Ra Riot's The Rhumb Line. On February 9th they could very well do it again as Saratoga Springs duo Phantogram release their stunning new album Eyelid Movies.
The group, comprised of kayboardist/vocalist Satah Barthel and guitarist/vocalist Josh Carter, have created an album where epic dreamscapes meld seamlessly with a broad range of eclectic influences.
Coming clean, most electronic-based music gets monotonous very quickly. Phantogram however uses hypnotic whirs and often groovy beats as a firm foundation. The songs are constructed atop that platform of electronics and programming using layers of other instrumentation which provide a diversity of sound that ensure the album has countless aspects to explore and enjoy.
The influence here are plentiful. A vinyl crackle sets up the sultry vintage flavour on "When I'm Small". Funky beats abound on numbers like "As Far As I Can See" and "Futuristic Casket". "Let Me Go" displays the duo's jazzy side. Fuzz bass and mechanized beats turn "Bloody Palms" into an almost brutalist exercise, while gauzy wash of "You Are the Ocean" provides the album's truly cathartic moment.
While Carter's vocals tend to float along with the wafting music, Barthel's are usually more front-and-centre. That style, couple with the ethereal reverb can give tracks a feeling of My Bloody Valentine, minus the sensory overload.
Give them half a chance and Phantogram could quite easily become your new favorite band.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.
on 2010-02-22 thurstamoore Said:
Saratoga Spring's electronic duo Phantogram, who have opened for the likes of none other than Zero 7, Yeasayer and Minus The Bear have delivered their captivating and mesmerizing debut; Eyelid Movies. Although they are only two, guitarist Josh Carter and keyboardist Sarah Barthel have created a sound as full and satisfying as a five piece band using both organic and technology methods.
Sarah's addictive, angelic and sweet voice is one of the strengths of the album, which especially shines through on "When I'm Small" and "Let Me Go". A deep, grimy fuzz/rumble and a strange shaky-sounding Josh are featured on "Running From the Cops", the album's first single."Turn It Off" is a more upbeat, dreamy tune with the Josh and Sarah's vocals intertwining in beauty. Phantogram bust out their inner thug as they chop up samples on "As Far As I Can See" and beats on "Futuristic Casket", revealing their love for hip-hop. "10,000 Claps", Sarah's caressing voice and '10,000 cats' bring a perfect slow-tempo end to the album.
Eyelid Movies is one of those multi-emotion albums, which are perfect for listening in a range of situations, suiting whatever your needs. With it's similar nightmarish feel as Fever Ray, it's great for those deep, dark moments, as well as endorphin-high runs in the summer. Although the album on a whole is electronic pop, the direction sometimes drifts into an incredibly pleasant mix of trip-hop, psychedelic, and even hip-hop. Even with the range of styles/genres, the album flows as effortlessly and naturally like a river, with everything is in it's right place. Both the production and arrangements are worthy of high recognition; a job well done.