Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, Barsuk Records, Eyelid Movies, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lynch, Mouthful Of Diamonds.”, Phantogram, Ra Ra Riot, Releases of the Week
PREVIEW: VISIT Phanotgram’s My Space
WE GIVE IT: 14/20 Watts
Three years into their career, Phantogram is finally gracing the public with their debut album Eyelid Movies. The Saratoga Springs duo, consisting of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, wowed when they were featured as the Starbucks iTunes pick of the week with “Mouthful Of Diamonds.” Following in the footsteps of their fellow upstate New Yorkers Ra Ra Riot, Phantogram will be releasing the record via Barsuk Records.
Eyelid Movies is exactly what one would expect. Dominated by countless layers of sound, the release combines every imaginable style into surprisingly symphonic arrangements. The electronic beats give the album a fast pace, which is ideally balanced with the occasional electro lullabies like “10,000 Claps” and “All Dried Up.”
Lyrically Phantogram aim for simplistic perfection, relying primarily on sound for expression– an effect that is quite haunting to say the least. While the release it utterly melodic, it has a strange horror appeal fit for a David Lynch film. Lyrics such as “ten thousand rats waiting in line for me” can even make Disneyland seem slightly creepy. Strangely the duo makes this work for them. The ghostlike intonation is laced through most of the sounds on the album. While Barthel’s synth sounds are drenched in chilling notes, the background beats give the album a necessary steady pace, making the listen into quite an experience.
Both Barthel and Carter contribute strong vocals throughout, adding a creative range to the overall album. Carter with a deeper mellow voice serves as a perfect accompaniment to Barthel’s delicate high notes. In “When I’m Small” her vocals are perfectly detached, fitting ideally with Carter’s minimalistic guitar plucks and repetitive keyboard strokes.
While overall the sound is quite refreshing, it does get hum drum on occasion, an error sure to be fixed in future releases. As far as the debut album goes, Phantogram do an adequate job defining their sound and creating their signature sound.