Scottish rockers The Phantom Band have just announced details of a live show at Whelan’s on Wednesday 19th of January 2011.
Tickets priced €15 inclusive of booking fee go on sale Thursday, 18th of November and are available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and ticketmaster.ie
‘No man is an island’ wrote John Dunne, but what about bands? Well, they’re probably not islands either, but like most things in life, you need exceptions to prove the rule. That’s why it was so remarkable when The Phantom Band, with their legion of musical references, still managed to sound quite unlike anyone else when they released Checkmate Savage in 2009, a debut that earned mass critical applause and made them the cult success of the year. Twelve months later, they’re still in a movement of one, and their follow-up, The Wants, looks set to cement their reputation as one of the most inventive and vital units at work today.
If Checkmate Savage was the product of a band mulling over the human race’s inexorable slide into oblivion, then its follow-up found them turning feral and heading for the hills to ride out the storm. Holing up in Chem19 (Chemikal Underground’s studio in the wastelands of Blantyre), The Phantom Band immersed themselves in a primordial soup of influences before emerging six months later, emaciated and squinting in the pallid sunlight, cradling ‘The Wants’: a nine-track musical folly and the soundtrack to their own personal apocalypse.
The end product represents a major leap forward for the band, a sound more of their own. Juxtapositions are more apparent – arcane folk melodies and gothic lyrical imagery straddle vintage analogue synths and primitive drum machines. “Where Checkmate Savage was varied, we’ve intensified those elements, because we’ve got no reason to be subtle with them,” says Wake. “It’s much more concentrated, more skilfully executed and with more decoration. It’s Checkmate Savage – On Ice.”
The Phantom Band was pulled together from all four corners of Scotland, settling on Glasgow as PB HQ. Duncan Marquiss (guitar), Gerry Hart (bass), Andy Wake (keyboards), Rick Anthony (vocals) and Greg Sinclair (guitars) are a volatile cabal of creative contradictions: a disorientating amalgam of music, art and performance that defies categorisation and provides an object lesson in how to forge something distinct and unique from well-worn sources. Checkmate Savage won plaudits from the mainstream music press and the indie blogs alike, finding famous fans in Peter Buck and comic artist Frank Quitely, while the influential music emporium Piccadilly Records named it their album of the year. Their new album may be The Wants, but what do The Phantom Band want for? “Survival. For this album to lead to another after it, that’s all. We think it’s better than the last one, and if anyone agrees with us then brilliant, they can hop aboard. Those who disagree can hop aboard too, but they’re sailing at the stern.”