The Phantom Band – The Howling (Chemikal Underground)
This perky slice from The Phantom Band’s middling debut is symptomatic of the band’s overriding dynamic. Corners of excitement occasionally sharpen and become interesting, even thrilling, but the simplicity of the padding around those corners renders the whole effect somewhat muted. There’s enough Saloon-style melodic grace to endear the ear, and some kinetics reminiscent of The Early Years, but this is a tune with room for only so much repetition. It comes down to a matter of edition.
The buoyant carriage of the beat during the verse sections is admirable, but can it sustain a full six minutes? An edited single version certainly suggests that maybe it can’t, feeling much better-organised and succinct than the sprawling original (also included, lucky you!). Ultimately, it’s an excercise in maintaining that bouyancy that works on the whole, but only when concentrated and tweaked for maximum impact.