Freddy And The Phantoms

Leaving The Landscape EP

Written by: TL on 12/12/2010 12:47:26

Moving on from a series of high-profile releases I've reviewed, it's now time for a rather unknown one, the "Leaving The Landscape" by Freddy And The Phantoms. It's a review that's long overdue, caused by the music escaping me into the vast desert of "lost and never to be found again software" - which was in turn the effect of a brief and unusual case of digital ineptitude on my behalf. Plainly speaking, I got stupid and fucked up, but all is well that ends well, and fortunately, the band kindly resupplied me with the material for scrutiny.

The 'band' is the brainchild of Frederik Schnoor, one of the singer/guitarist of the now defunct Cleo Malone, and I'm guessing that referring to the band as "The Phantoms" is just a clever way of saying that there aren't any other real members. "Leaving The Landscape" is the first release from the project, and although my copy is digital, I understand the release is a vinyl with four songs on each side, clocking in at just about 28 minutes, which according to my definition makes it an EP.

The sound on offer is an unashamed throwback to the sixties, as the record opens with a Western-ish monologue and immediately jumps into a dark, dusty song that quickly brings Johnny Cash into the picture as an obvious influence. The atmosphere and groove is great, as an effect of a steadily rumbling bass and a melancholic, howling organ, and that general mood seems to be at the core of Freddy's sound. The opening title track, as well as "Cheap Candy" from the b-side, are in my opinion the strongest examples of this. Things also get mixed up on occasion, with "Star Of The Night" and "Who's It Gonna Be?" leaning towards a more up-beat, rockabilly sound, leading my thoughts to the good old King, Elvis Presley, as Freddy casually let's out a classic "a-ha-ha" on the former of the two.

Overall, I find the material to be a tightly structured and easily likeable display of love for sixties music, especially the American kind, and it stands to Freddy's credit that he, as a denizen of the cold, dark north, has managed to interpret the genre more or less without inconsistency in the credibility department. I admit that I think he is slightly handicapped by the sharpness of his voice, when the instrumentation so thoroughly reminds us of the deep, dark, rounded voice of Johnny Cash, but his delivery is otherwise both proficient and charismatic. The songs individually are good, if maybe not great, and as a whole, I think the release is a good offset for the project. Now it only remains for time to tell if Freddy can keep the style versatile, while fine-tuning his songs so he can hopefully come up even bigger in the future.

7

Download: Leaving The Landscape, Star Of The Night, Cheap Candy
For The Fans Of: Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Ryan Adams
Listen: myspace.com/freddyandthephantoms

Release Date September 2010
Deluxe Records / Gateway Music

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