Phantogram is the NY-based duo of Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, bringing outstanding trip-hop electronica music (not unlike, say, latter day Portishead). The band released its debut album "Eyelid Movies" in 2010, an immediately classic-sounding collection that was one of the top 3 albums of the year for me. Now comes eagerly awaited new material, in the form of this EP.
"Nightlife" (6 tracks; 27 min.) starts off with arguable the weakest track on here, the tentative "16 years" which really goes nowhere. Things get much better with "Don't Move". The first half of this collection closes with an alright sounding "Turning Into Stone" (only one of two songs on here where Josh Carter takes lead vocals, all the others are Sarah-fronted, one of the big evolutions since "Eyelid Movies"). I rate the first half 3.5 stars. The second half starts of with the fantastic "Make a Fist" (with underlying drums reminding me of "Turn It Off" from "Eyelid Movies"). It is my favorite track on here. The title track starts off deceptively with delicate acoustic guitar sounds, only to evolve into a slowburner. The last track is "A Dark Tunnel", which would've fitted nicely onto "Eyelid Movies". I rate the second half of this EP 4.5 stars.
In all, this is a solid EP while we await the band's second studio album, and as such a welcome addition to Phantogram's catalog. But hurry up already and get us that second studio album sonner rather than later! I've seen Phantogram live twice earlier this summer, once here in Cincinnati and then again at Lollapalooza, and live the band brings just a massive sound by adding a live drummer and guitarist. Not to be missed if you have a chance to catch them in concert. Meanwhile I'm enjoying "Nightlife" quite a bit.
1. 16 Years
2. Don't Move
3. Turning Into Stone
4. Make a Fist
6. A Dark Tunnel