The Phantom Band -‘Checkmate Savage’ (Chemikal Underground)
A few months ago I wrote about how excited I was by the Phantom Band. I commented that the description of ‘Beefheart meets Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Neu! meets Nick Cave’ might actually be pretty accurate on the basis of what I had heard so far. On the evdience of this stunning debut, that was an understatement.
It’s like they’ve fashioned something completely new, taking cues from the long-lamented Beta Band, with their ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ ethos, to produce an album that yields new secrets on each listen. ‘Folksong Oblivion’ a teaser for the album gave us some idea of what to expect, but nothing as good as this. Is this ‘indie’ or ‘electronic’ or what? It’s music that comes out of leftfield, and then gives us something weird and wonderful that needs to be heard.
The title can be assumer to be a reference to the fact that the album was recorded at Chem 19, the Delgados’ legendary studio, and features Paul Savage from Scotland’s Greatest Ever Band in the role of producer, engineer, and guiding force. It was also recorded at Franz Ferdinand’s studio in Govan. Hear it now!