Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

February 23rd, 2010 by Ryan Nisley


Phantogram is an electronic-indie duo that hails from Saratoga Springs, New York.  Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel have been best friends since high school and have been on tour for only a few years.  However, they are getting major attention from popular labels with their self-proclaimed “street-beat psych-pop” that makes listening irresistible.  While listening to “Mouthful of Diamonds,” the first track on the album, one may think that this duo is just a simple Indie band with a hint of electronic flavor.  But there is much more to this band than meets the eye (not to mention that a phantogram is a 2-D image enhanced by 3-D glasses).  As soon as “Turn It Off” kicks in with synthetic beats and turntable effects, the listener feels compelled to finish the track.  Barthel’s delicate voice is complimented by Carter’s simple, shimmering guitar, but behind them are hip hop beats that launch the music into something special.


When I first listened to this album, I wondered how two people could generate so many complicated beats and effects while singing.  I did some research and discovered that Barthel uses a database of beats and keyboards to play bass and loop vocals.  This allows for endless possibilities to be creative during live shows.  I was even more impressed with their live shows that I watched on the internet.  They have a mysterious quality to them with echoing voices and guitar, which is reinforced by intense break beats and dazzling light projections.  The album has a comforting blend of mellow and energetic songs.  One of my favorite tracks on the CD is “Futuristic Casket,” which announces itself immediately with a guitar riff and beat that sounds like an intro to a great hip hop song but leads you into a flowing atmospheric melody.  I think this band has a lot of potential and I am eager to see where they will be in the next few years.

Grade: 4 out of 5
Recommended Tracks: Mouthful of Diamonds — When I’m Small — Turn It Off
As Far As I Can See — Futuristic Casket

Download on Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (Bonus Track Version)




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