The Phantom Band: Fears Trending

Lightning return for Scottish psych lords.

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Forget the usual protocol. The timing of Phantom Band albums, much like buses, obey a very random logic. After a break of four years, the release of last summer’s Strange Friend has now been swiftly followed by another.

The songs on Fears Trending come from the same sessions (anagram fiends should note the title) and is described by guitarist Duncan Marquiss as its predecessor’s evil twin. It’s certainly a little darker in mood, the Glaswegian sextet rumbling through these psych-blues offerings like outriders on a midnight quest.

The band’s tendency towards the epic is borne out by Denise Hopper and The Kingfisher, two mighty compositions driven by broody guitar figures and ominous waves of electronica. For all their proggy time signatures and heavy intonations though, it’s frontman Rick Anthony who remains the focal point – his weathered baritone occupying a space somewhere between Jim Morrison and lugubrious Texan Micah P. Hinson.

As with Strange Friend, it makes for a compelling listen, especially when you factor in their capacity for the occasional foray into sideways folk, as on Tender Castle and the forlorn, shantyish Olden Golden./o:p

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.