At first, Saratoga Spring’s Phantogram didn’t turn heads with debut full-length Eyelid Movies (QRO review), but the ethereal live show from Josh Carter and the beautiful Sara Barthel (QRO photos) did, and now, five years after Eyelid, they find themselves on a major label for their follow-up. While more accomplished than their debut, Voices still isn’t revelatory.
The hallmark of Voices is a mix of haunting and incisive, even when airy (“Black Out Days”) or when Carter takes the mike (“Never Going Home” and “Bill Murray”). While it struggles to stand out from all of the other ethereal electronica out there these days, Voices is still a record that works, such as high & pretty – but not too high or too pretty – “The Day You Died”, or the glow, yet loss, of “Celebrate Nothing”.
Like Eyelid Movies, Voices isn’t going to change the way you look at haunting electronica, as it’s still halfway to dance (see “Howling At the Moon”). But it will undoubtedly bring a great live show.