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The Phantom Band announce new album 'Strange Friend' released on 2nd June 2014 on Chemikal Underground
Even the most adventurous alchemists return to their favoured base elements in the pursuit of maximum potency. So it was that The Phantom Band following two diverse albums of singular brilliance in Checkmate Savage (2009) and The Wants (2011) – reached album number three seeking a return to the first principles of performance that brought them together to begin with - to capture the six of them live; raw, rugged, perhaps looser, but still fit to burst with earworms and oddities from every nook and cranny.
Musically Strange Friend is the most straight-up set of recordings the band have put to wax. Fans of their previous critically-acclaimed albums, fear not; those burbling, fluttering electronics that drag their sound through a wormhole and out into the 70’s alongside the soundtracks of John Carpenter and the kosmische of Kraftwerk and Neu! remain; the elements of folk; the woozy organ sounds. The difference is now it feels as though an imaginary thread’s been pulled tight through it all; take Strange Friend's driving opening track and first single, ‘The Wind That Cried The World'
Singer Rick Redbeard on the song "The verses have a kind of nursery rhyme musical naivety and we wanted the choruses to just sort of blast in. The lyrics were kind of stream of consciousness that alludes somewhat to the inherent meaninglessness and randomness of artistic creation. The whole track acts as a nice opener and first single; a sort of a statement of intent after being away for so long."
Strange Friend, like their previous outings, is the sound of six clearly distinct personalities attempting to inflict their will on the rest of the group – it’s no surprise the phrase “love/hate” is brought up repeatedly by all its members in an attempt to describe their relationship with the band as an entity – but it’s that fission between each other’s contributions that provides the intangible individuality of their music. “Like all true utopias it can feel impossible to maintain,” admits guitarist Duncan Marquiss. “But we'd have fallen apart long ago if any one band member took the reins, and that friction between people throws up music that no single person in the band would have imagined otherwise. I still hope our utopia will turn into whisky fountains and flying sandwiches.” It’s something that you can’t help but feel would be fully deserved for these most strange but wonderful returning friends.
1. The Wind That Cried The World
3. Doom Patrol
5. (Invisible) Friend
7. No Shoes Blues
8. Women Of Ghent
Previous praise for The Phantom Band:
" a thrillingly inventive band." - **** Uncut
"The Phantom Band's debut was one unique record, charged with the notion that rock music has far from exhausted its every possibility. The Wants is the same, but bolder, richer, its components more cleverly integrated...Amazing." - **** Mojo
"As grand as their 2009 debut Checkmate Savage was, it's unlikely even The Phantom Band themselves envisaged something as remarkable as The Wants for it's follow up" - **** Q
"if you've ever wondered what Can getting glitchy with the Stooges at a barn dance might sound like, here's your answer" - **** The Independent
"a bewitching mix of gothic folk, krautrock, doo-wop and electro" - **** The Guardian
"There are traces of Neu!, Captain Beefheart, Van Morrison, the Velvet Underground and Doll By Doll in the mix, but the final sweep of sound is courageously - and wonderfully - uniquely their own." - **** The Observer
"The Phantom Band should really be celebrated for what they are: that rarest of things - an excellent British rock band" - NME
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