Monday, February 20, 2012

Phantom West - Vapourware Album

Hear The Track Here

While Phantom West is a new name to me, just a glance at the attached press blurb show me that Timothy Clark (aka the phantom) has been at this long enough to know what he is about musically. Anyone who has been making and releasing music since 2005 will have learned a trick or two along the way although, as we have found, that isn't always true. However, there is a previous connection here too. You may remember me reviewing the Neon Wild EP (October 2011) from LA based Animal Games, a vibrant slice of LA indie that was surprisingly good. Considering that Timothy mixed and mastered that EP in his home studio, Vapourware should prove to be much the same, shouldn't it?

In a perfect world...

Very different, and edgier than Neon Wild, but they are different bands even though they share the same producer. Had to work at getting into the tracks though, over ten tracks to assimilate meant that I was only really able to skim the ones that didn't really appeal to me, but I did go back and re-try them on later plays. Over the years Phantom West appears to have dabbled in a few disparate musical corners and if you went by the strict running order of the album, you'd pretty much glimpse most of them in passing. One though recurred to me time and time again, there is a lot going on and - in this gimmie now culture - that may affect the amount of people who would casually listen.

The musical basis that runs through the work is a combination of rock roots and electronica that probably harks back to the 1980's, definitely the songs have their feet firmly stuck in that decade. By far the most realised song, which is why it's a bit of a highlight is Leper Machine, a terrifically understated song that has real power to it, made all the more so with the male and female voices. Now maybe this is because it is a recognisable song structure, and there is more instrumental on this album than tunage. Of course, it does help that Leper Machine is a great song. A lot of the other material has hints of soundtrack and/or prog rock which - as you know - tends to turn me off, although not enough to stop me checking it out properly. It IS different though, that's for sure and I'm also sure it'll find a few takers...

Recommended blend of styles.

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