As the old saying goes: you wait ages for an album from The Phantom Band to turn up and then two come along within a few weeks of one another.
Well, it’s not that old. In fact, we just coined it. But it does contain more than a germ of truth: The Phantom Band broke their silence with last year’s artful return ‘Strange Friend’ and are now ready to unveil follow up ‘Fears Trending’.
It’s a skilled instalment. Out on January 26th, guests include Alasdair Roberts with The Phantom Band exhibiting both a sense of gravitas and a willingness to step outside what would normally be expected of them.
Culled largely from the sessions in Glasgow’s Chem19 complex which fuelled ‘Strange Friend’, new album ‘Fears Trending’ is so much more than a mere companion piece; rather, The Phantom Band have been able to channel similar influences, similar approaches into a distinctly different sonic document.
Clash is able to bring you the album’s first play. A wonderful treat for the ears, it comes equipped with a track-by-track guide from singer Rick Anthony and whizzkid drummer Iain Stewart.
Dive in now.
The bulk of this was recorded in 2010 during the Wants sessions, with Iain going in and recording the drums late last year- once they were on it the whole thing just lifted up. Alasdair Roberts popped by the studio and we roped him into wailing on it. His presence gives the track a folky element that is pleasingly at odds with the rest of the music. Future trad / Sci fi folk (to use journalist speak). It was one of the more immediate tracks and sounded like a natural opener to our ears.
This is maybe the most ‘motorik’ track on the record. Again it’s a bit of a style clash with a few different songs in there all competing for space. It was always quite open ended because we hadn’t really finished writing it, which is maybe a theme for this record. The bridge is where it all opens out into a bit more of an improvised section- a wee detour off the motorway into a strange country road... It has the most melodies per minute of any Phantom Band tune. A real value for money piece.
This one was the last track to be written during the ‘Strange Friend’ sessions and as such, again, no-one was sure what it was going to be. It came from a jam with Duncan and Iain with everyone coming in and seeing what they could add later. Build and release. It used to be about three and a half hours long so we needed to do a bit of trimming to meet standard vinyl production rules.
We wanted to write a song that was all written around one note. Pure repetition. Relentless. A bit bludgeoning. Black Leather Trousers.
This was the other track from ‘The Wants’ session. Again the new drums made the track come alive. A bit. We re-recorded the vocals also. It’s a funny one, even for us. It’s a bit of a song out of time for us, like a man that’s been forgotten in a cave and comes out to see everyone with mobile phones and goes mad. It used to contain the worst piece of music we have ever written but we fixed it. No-one will ever know.
This was the first track we had written for the Strange Friend session- we were playing versions of it back in 2011. This is maybe the most settled track from a genre point of view. Everyone knew their parts from really early (almost from the first time we played it) and it was more about keeping a certain mood from the early demos to the finished track. We named this after the worst hotel we have ever stayed in. The showers smelt of eggs. Bloodstains on doors. Smashed TVs. It was incredible. Thoroughly recommended.
This track possibly holds the most amount of styles at once. Westworld. There are a lot of parts that on paper wouldn’t fit together, but we just forced them together in a terrible, but beautiful marriage. Westworld. It’s potentially the most “Phantom Band” we have sounded. Iain wishes another band had made this song so he could listen to it and enjoy it. This should have been on the soundtrack to Westworld but they made it too early.
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Catch The Phantom Band live:
4 London The Lexington
5 York The Duchess
6 Manchester The Deaf Institute
8 Dundee Buskers