May 13, 2010 Web Exclusive
The Saratoga Springs, New York duo of Josh Carter (guitar) and Sarah Barthel (keys/vocals) delivers an impressive debut full of dark beat-driven electronic rock. Opener and lead single "Mouthful of Diamonds" unfolds like a night blooming flower with some truly excellent layered vocals from Barthel and a smooth, clean, almost country sounding guitar line from Carter. It's followed by the album's second single "When I'm Small," a driving piece of 8-bit melodrama that grows more ambitious, almost anthematic, as the song moves along.
On the whole, Eyelid Movies is a brave record that isn't afraid to embrace the past. Nearly every song contains a few endearing details such as the 1990s drum breakdown in "Turn It Off" or the distorted tape loop accents in "10,000 Claps." Phantogram manages to combine a lot of familiar elements in a new, strikingly sexy way. It should be noted that Eyelid Movies owes a great deal to Portishead's entire catalogue in terms of song structure, phrasing, and instrumentation. This might rub some folks the wrong way, but this album still manages a unique, cohesive sound that definitely merits investigation. It's a perfect choice for fans of The XX, who, not coincidentally, Phantogram are opening for on most of a forthcoming U.S. tour. (www.myspace.com/phantogram)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10