Special to The Seattle Times
Phantogram, ‘Voices’ (Republic)
Phantogram is one of those bands with a name aptly analogous to the genre of music they create.
Throughout their studio career they’ve maintained a spooky sort of urgency in both songwriting and sound. Their second studio album, “Voices,” improves on this theme.
The opening track, “Nothing but Trouble,” is perhaps the strongest because it makes a statement about the changes in this new work. The cut stays firmly within the vein of the electronically-tinged shoe-gaze rock the band made before, but their older material was never this calculatingly raw.
The buzzy and fuzzy production on the opener (and the album as a whole) slightly echoes the ostensibly-chaotic-yet-in-actuality-meticulous style Rick Rubin and Kanye West whipped up for “Yeezus.” Of course, Phantogram’s lead singer, Sarah Barthel, sings more like Portishead front woman Beth Gibbons than West, making for a smoother listen.
From track to track, “Voices” has a pretty consistent sound, but this is not a detriment. Bumping this album is like hopping on a bullet train. It gathers momentum and pulls the listener along for the ride. Other standout tracks include “The Day you Died” and “Celebrating Nothing.”
Other new releases
Guided by Voices, “Motivational Jumpsuit” (Guided by Voices)
The Jezabels, “The Brink” (Pias America)