Skip to main content

The Phantom Band: Strange Friend

The Glaswegian sextet’s glorious return.

It seems like forever since we heard from this band. Their last LP, The Wants, landed four years ago, and since then they’ve changed drummers, been distracted by the odd solo project and continued to move along at what they call their ‘own glacial pace’.

Whatever the circumstances, Strange Friend is a terrific comeback. The music is a little more streamlined than before, though it’s again guided by the ticking heartbeat of 70s krautrock and a gothic sense of explorative prog. This visceral rush is never more explicit than on Doom Patrol and Clapshot, the latter a surefire hit in a parallel universe where sales and artistic merit go palm in palm. Things get a little tricksier on Atacama, with its insidious bass riff and guitars, but the standout is Sweatbox, which throbs along to a deliciously odd meter before rupturing into a great keyboard break and ending with a nimble acoustic fadeout. And just when you think you have them pegged, they offer up Galapagos, all rickety percussion, Eastern tinkliness and a dash of banjo. Most impressive of all is frontman Rick Anthony, whose remarkable voice conjures the same murky splendour as Scott Walker or Nick Cave. A welcome return.

Via Chemikal Underground

Rob Hughes
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.