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