Showing posts with label phantogram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label phantogram. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

video review: 'three' by phantogram

Well, it took WAY too long to get to this, but I'm happy I got a chance to talk about it regardless, one of the fascinating cases that I wish I liked more than I did. Sort of like Radiohead, in a weird way...

And on the topic of electronica... well, stay tuned!

album review: 'three' by phantogram

Well, it's about time I talk about this.

In fact, I'm a little bewildered why it has taken me this long. Sure, I've been busy and there's been no shortage at all of more records that are flooding the last few weeks of the year, but I have to admit a certain disinterest in this record. Part of this is because I covered Phantogram's last album Voices in 2014 and didn't really care for it - but even that's not really true, from what I remember. And that's the bigger problem, I had to go back to my last review to recall anything about that record, and even a quick relisten didn't stick much with me, mostly because it felt like the poppier nature of the writing didn't really fit well with the darker, fuzzier electronic production and didn't flatter their stronger melodies.

And yet despite everything, the critical reviews have been mixed to positive on this album, including from some people I respect a great deal. They said it went louder and heavier and brought in more bombast - which okay, that could be promising if the writing and delivery picked up the slack - so I left on my schedule. And thus thanks to voting on Patreon, it somehow wound up on top of said schedule, so what the hell - how did Three by Phantogram turn out?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

video review: 'voices' by phantogram

Another quick review, but there wasn't much on this album that really stuck with me. Eh, it happens.

Next up will probably be Lydia Loveless, and then Beck. Stay tuned!

album review: 'voices' by phantogram

If you've been watching my reviews for a while, you've probably noticed that I don't tend to set indie rock on a pedestal. There's a reason for that: there's good and bad stuff in any musical genre, and I don't discriminate. But I would be lying if I didn't say that my standards are different for certain genres of music, and there's a reason for that: certain genres are trying to do different things and have different focuses. Most pop albums are only really trying to get you to dance or have a nonspecific good time, and if the album does it well, it has succeeded in its goal. The album isn't going to get critical acclaim from me unless it goes above and beyond - but then again, that's what I'd say about any album from any genre.

The difference is that certain artists within certain genres - like indie rock or alternative country or progressive metal or certain branches of hip-hop - have bigger goals in mind. They're aiming to make something more artistically significant than just dance tracks - and while it's very tempting to reward an act just for the idea, it's the execution of the idea that really matters. That's why I've thrown some pretty harsh reviews at indie rock acts like The Neighbourhood or Young The Giant or, hell, even acts I've mostly liked in the vein of Lorde, HAIM, or Bastille. I appreciate that these acts are aiming higher, believe me, but that it's how they execute that vision that I'd like to see. It falls along the line of a central tenet of my musical philosophy: that genre is simply a descriptor of music, not a measurement of quality, and a transcendent album of any genre can be just as emotionally impacting or intellectually rewarding as any other. 

So what happens when you get a duo like Phantogram, who like to toe the line of indie pop between modern synthpop or the off-beat weirdness of some of their tourmates and collaborators, like The Flaming Lips? Well, that was a question I was looking to answer when I picked up their most recent album Voices - albeit not expecting much. That wasn't to say Phantogram's first album Eyelid Movies was bad - far from it, it was enjoyable enough - but it wasn't a record that really stood out to me so I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with the band. How did it go?