Up until a few months ago The Phantom Band was one of those underground bands that only people drowned in music knew about, almost hidden from the eyes and ears of the populace, the band was cherished by a few while they spend time building their eccentric yet singular sound for almost a decade.
Strange Friend appears like a UFO in the musical universe, sometimes heavy (‘Doom Patrol’) sometimes reminiscing of The National’s eponymous debut album (‘Ataca’), the band surfs on this post-folk wave that reveals more of the band’s eclecticism.
If the devil is in the details, well this mischievous spirit would be fulfilled by the band’s resourcefulness to introduce every single track on this album, every song is different from the last creating a new story every time the play button is pressed.
This album should be seen as a firework shooting in every musical direction, a talented and fresh musical vision, a mythical chimera brought back to life, a quiet musical revolution, the six Scottish musicians have the ability to bend the rules to their conveniences, mixing different styles and genres while building something odd but powerful.
The band is able to reach further out thanks to the exquisite songwriting and the way lyrics are thrown into the air, Rick Anthony’s voice is a sonic drug that gets under your skin and makes you crave for more, with hints of Eddie Vedder (especially on ‘(Invisible) Friends’) and Matt Berninger, his tone weights on the verses and choruses giving them more texture, more power.
The album is a tuneful invitation to the band’s imaginarium, it smoothly transports one’s desires from genre to genre without being obnoxious and pompous; The Phantom Band’s potential is gently exposed and this LP will undoubtedly delight every music lover out there.
Words: Jeremy Veyret