Eyelid Movies – Phantogram

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To prove just how forward-thinking Phantogram is, they dropped the best album of 2010 last year.

Originally released on the BBE label, their full-length debut has finally gotten a proper stateside release. Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel make up Phantogram, a rock/pop hybrid prone to moody selections awash in a sea of guitars, overdubbed vocals, and analog synths. Hip-hop influences creep in and allow the beat maker within to craft neck-snapping rhythms to the paranoid aura of “Running From The Cops” and the sample-accented “As Far As I Can See”.

As vocalists, both prove effective, whether it’s Sarah descending into despair with a line like “I’d rather die than to be with you” on “When I’m Small” or Josh belting out lines over his guitar on “Bloody Palms.” More often than not, it’s Sarah that stands center stage on the album’s most poignant and melancholy selections, such as “All Dried Up” and “10,000 Claps.”

The latter is the closer to beat this year, combining a solo piano, warbling tones, and audience applause as surface noise. If you’re one of those people with high hopes for music in 2010, let Phantogram serve as validation for seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty.