8 out of 10
By Riley Morrison
“Voices,” Phantogram’s second studio album, was released Feb. 18th to generally good reviews, based on it’s heavy use of catchy vocals and the albums largely atmospheric electronic backing.
A much better album than their last, “Eyelid Movies,” “Voices” raises the bar on the atmospheric R and B rock scene.
Much of the album’s energy comes from Sarah Bartel, one of the founding members of the band.
According to Pitchfork’s Stuart Berman, “she’s not afraid to place herself in a vulnerable position in service of a song.”
The album’s two heavy hitting songs, “Black Out Days” and “Fall in Love” are both excellent.
“Fall in Love” is extremely melodic and uses a variety of synthesizer elements.
“Black Out Days” is equally good, but much faster with danceable beats.
Another solid song is “Bill Murray.”
Though nothing clearly relates the song to the actor, it is piano driven and emotional.
According to Josh Carter, Phantogram’s other member “we named it Bill Murray because we always pictured a sad Bill Murray for the visuals of that song.”
On the other hand, there are certainly a couple songs to avoid on “Voices,” mostly because after a few choruses, they become dull and repetitive.
Among them are “Howling At the Moon,” “Bad Dreams” and “My Only Friend.”
One of my only suggestions for the album, other than cutting the above songs, would have been to feature Josh Carter’s vocals on more tracks.
His voice is interesting and contrasts well with Bartel’s.
The one song he did solo, “Never Going Home,” was stirring and powerful and left me wanting more.
A few songs to certainly add to your library would be “Nothing But Trouble,” “The Day You Died” and “Celebrating Nothing.”
They, in addition to the previously mentioned “Black Out Days,” “Fall in Love” and “Never Going Home.”
The band will be performing Apr. 19, at The Marquee in Tempe.