Wednesday, February 17, 2010
We repeatedly come across — whether coincidental or planned — revived musical styles. It’s not quite at the point of (the erroneously reported) “nothing more can be invented” quote from a 19th century patent-office employee, but bands find remarkable ways to invoke the past.
Phantogram are Hooverphonic. Not literally, but the parallels (boy/girl, mid- to downtempo electronica with indie-rock flourishes) between the Saratoga Springs duo and their mid-’90s, Belgian counterparts on this year’s Eyelid Movies (Barsuk) can be striking. The most glaring example is between Hoover’s “2wicky” and Phantogram’s “When I’m Small.” The former relies on a lazy, bent riff sampled from Isaac Hayes’ “Walk On By,” while the latter’s isn’t a direct lift, but bears enough resemblance to Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Up To Dry” to turn your head.
None of this is meant to deride Phantogram. Despite the similarities, Eyelid constantly refreshes its approach, like exhaling smoke at one point and, like “Futuristic Casket,” hinting you could use a bass amp in your trunk.
Junk Culture open.
– Steve Forstneger
Click here to download “When I’m Small.”
About the Author: