The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
Glasgow's Phantom band have been stealthily developing their melange of... well, just about everything good in modern music, for four years now, finally settling on a name that encapsulated their somewhat indefinable approach. If we were lazy we'd reference krautrock, folk, post rock, tribal rhythms or even (don't laugh) Big Country. But we're not, and let's just leave it at 'very good' for now. Here's why...
Each track represents a tussle, taking you in several directions at once. Only on the instrumental Crocodile (it's a very good thing when a band have the intelligence to know exactly when to shut their mouths), is undeniably 'motorik' in sound; although it's more like a gaelic Neu!.
Checkmate Savage (the title alludes to our limited tenure as top species on the planet) has an undeniably large and boastful, if doomy, sound. But an heroic ability to throw caution to the wind and sound brazenly BIG mustn't be mistaken for the meaningless posturing of a band as dreadful as Glasvegas. We're talking of a devil-may-care combination of six souls throwing everything they know at a wall and seeing what sticks. It has little to do with boring old-fashioned rock.
The resultant pot pourri combines obtuse lyricism with experimentalism, analogue drones and pulses, and, most importantly bloody great tunes. Opening single The Howling is as good an ear worm as you're liable to hear this year. The previously released Throwing Bones rattles along like a hellbound charger racing down Sauciehall Street on a Saturday night.
So, thrills, spills and and an unabashed ability to sing in their native tongue. What are you waiting for? --Chris Jones
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