The Harbinger Online

Album Review: Voices


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Have you ever been listening to the radio and heard a song that makes you immediately pull out your phone to Shazam it? I’ll admit, I do it a lot.

That’s how I found out about Phantogram. I was listening to The Buzz one night and they started playing “Fall in Love,” Phantogram’s new single. It was less than a minute into the song by the time I got my phone out to look it up. And the only reason it took that long was because it’s hard to get a phone out of hipster, skinny jeans while you’re driving.

To start, Phantogram is an American electric alternative group from New York. It was started in 2007 by Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel. They released their first self titled EP back in 2009. Their first album “Eyelid Moves” came out in 2010. Before hearing them on the Buzz, I hadn’t listened to much of their music. Just a few songs here and there.

Phantogram’s new album “Voices” just came out on Feb. 18. It’s good, but it starts repetitively. The first few songs lack variety and run together. The first listen through I gave this album, I hit the third song before realizing the first had ended.

Each song shares the same sound; the same snare drums, the same computer sounds, the same haunting voice. I liked it all, but it felt like background noise. After awhile, I just got sick of hearing the same type of thing over and over.

But, when I hit the fourth track, “Never Going Home,” that repetitiveness was shattered. At first I actually thought I was listening to something by a completely different band. Instead of a woman’s chilling vocals, a man was singing. His voice had a tenor, almost blues feel to it. It took the album out of it’s early rut and brought my interest back.

“Howl at the Moon,” the fifth song, is one the only songs on the album I’m really not a fan of. The chorus is good, but the verses ruin the song. Her voice doesn’t work with the tempo and the song just comes off as choppy and annoying.

The rest of the album is good. It’s not great, but it’s pretty good. It hit a melancholy feeling, different from the energy at the start. They became calm, with a little sorrow. It fit the mood I was feeling when I was writing this.

Phantogram balances their electronic feel with real instruments like drums and violins well. They add them together for a haunting feeling that encompasses and calms you. Then they’ll turn around, and with the same sound, add in a little energy and create a song that can take you out of a somber mood and put a smile on your face. And if you need to be convinced anymore to give this album a listen, it’s also pretty indie. You can impress a lot of people by knowing who Phantogram is.

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