The Phantom Band were one of those dream signings for a label like Chemikal Underground: a band some people had heard about but who hadn’t quite made it onto anyone’s radar. Then they delivered ‘Checkmate Savage‘, a debut album more bold and stylistically diverse than anything released in Scotland for years. The real kicker for us though, is that they just keep getting better…
‘The Wants’, released in October 2010, made no concessions to either their fans or the industry and secured its reputation for brilliance as a result: a unique, visionary album that crafted something entirely new from a myriad of musical reference points. Live, The Phantom Band are a sight (and sound) to behold: Rick Anthony’s fire and brimstone delivery counterbalanced by a cabalistic consortium of whoops, moogs, guitars, banjos and seemingly endless percussion.
The Phantom Band return after three and a half years with their third album ‘Strange Friend’. ‘Strange Friend’ doesn’t have one firm concept at its root but several, infused with multiple meanings it reflects the constant percolation of voices within the Scottish six-piece, all jostling for their say. “It can indirectly refer to a lot of different things,” says Anthony of the album’s title. “Living in a world that’s increasingly hyper-connected through the internet yet increasingly disconnected in terms of actual real human relationships. It could also refer to the band and our relationships to each other; our individual relationship to the band as a thing; our relationship to this particular album. It’s like a strange friend that we can’t quite shake. Or our relationship to music as a whole.”
‘Strange Friend’ was released on the 2nd of June 2014. Welcome back old friend…
“Thrills, spills and an unabashed ability to sing in their native tongue” BBC
“Weaving back and forth between genres, their debut creates high drama out of sonic juxtapositions. And if it sounds disjointed on paper, the reality is strangely and thrillingly coherent, with its strong melodic undertow and pervasive air of uncertainty and foreboding” The Guardian
“We can’t remember another band since probably Elbow that sound more mature and fully-formed on their debut” Pitchfork
“Frightening array of genres explored here… a journey emphatically worth taking” Drowned in Sound