Monday, 10 June 2013

The Phantom Light - Sky Lanterns EP

EP review by

There was a temptation when first listening to this EP by Swansea septet (at time of recording, we believe they're now a sextet) The Phantom Light to think that the music they've made lacked a little punch; it maybe needed something to add that extra power that this form of music can often work best with. However, on repeat listens this isn't the case as all. This EP is fine as it is, it just requires a touch of patience. The song 'Sky Lanterns' sounds every bit the traditional dreampop/shoegaze tune, from the gentle hum of the guitars to the piano line that could be described using cliches like "glacial", the familiar pace and melody and soft vocals. That said, these may be old tricks but they're good ones, so even when the inevitable drums kick in and a quivering guitar send the song skyward it sounds grandiose, not pilfered. They're almost in danger of turning into U2 for the intro to 'The Greater Picture', but even that sounds good, and when the song fully gets going the comparison fades considerably.

Again it's all sounds that you've heard before on 'Lighthouse On Fire', but for some reason you don't mind. These techniques are there to be used, so why not use them. It's not a song that will win awards for originality but it's almost impeccably realised for what it is, and that's shoegaze-influenced guitar-pop. This is what the band say they do, so expecting anything different would be a mistake on our part, and it's to their credit that they have a strong enough set of songs to keep you engaged throughout. It's only really 'A Rose In The Avalanche' that's a mild disappointment. At over seven minutes you're expecting a towering centrepiece, yet despite some nice touches it's a bit of a damp squib and the first few minutes feel wasted. They finish by pulling out a few more classic tricks on 'D&D', a track that goes from slow start through to emotional lyrics and then added depth and finally a discordant, disintegrating ending. There's not much new here but there doesn't need to be. If you like shoegaze then you'll like The Phantom Light. Simple.

The Phantom Light's website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Fri Aug 23rd - Uplands Festival Headline Slot, Uplands Tavern, Swansea

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