Phantogram, Eyelid Movies
Trippy and kaleidoscopic, textural and weird, Phantogram spins sexy, synth-laden pop
If you've ever found yourself wishing that The xx spent less time singing about sex and more time actually having it, Phantogram may be the answer to your spaciest psych-pop dreams. Trippy and kaleidoscopic, textural and weird, the Saratoga Springs-based boy-girl duo can spin sexy, synth-laden pop with the best of them. But where other acts tiptoe, Phantogram surge, blending hip-hop, shoegaze and electro-rock with a slick city-life coolness that belies their small-town start.
At heart, this is a duo that doesn't shy from contradictions. There are songs that work well for both body-rocking and zoning out, others that seem to come from too many places and still others that come from nowhere at all. From song to song — even from verse to verse — there are surging shifts in paradigm: a gargled lament subsides to hypnotic samples ("Running from the Cops"), or a shoe-bent mumble morphs into an all-out laser show ("Turn It Off"). Seconds later, keyboardist Sarah Barthell is sampling mid-century brass ensembles, worshiping at the altar of My Bloody Valentine or serving up the sort of jam-worthy beats that would make both Aaliyah and Daft Punk proud.
It can seem schizophrenic, sure — but in Phantogram's shifting, psychedelic world, schizophrenia is just another word for compulsively listenable pop. And at the end of the day, Eyelid Movies is nothing if not a great hallucination.