The Phantoms – S/T (Rum Bar Records)
Artist: The Phantoms
Release: 20 May 2016
Label: Rum Bar Records
When music veterans meet, everything is possible. Only one thing is certain, they know their business. The Phantoms are different and, at the same time, you feel like you’ve known them forever. This is clear-as-spring-water pure classic rock’n’roll. They are easy on the ear and the heart.
Straight off the streets of San Diego, Victor M. Penalosa in the lead vocals and rhythm guitar (Flamin’ Groovies and punk icons The Zeros!), Xavier Anaya in the lead guitar (The Trebles and The Hoods), Chris Landolo in the bass guitar (Dizzy) and Ed Masi in the drums (Ghosts of California and Sleeping Cranes) work this album with a transparency and coolness that’s incredibly reachable and right-down effortless.
Their main influences go from Chuck Berry, T-Rex, Mott the Hoople, Kiss and Dr. Feelgood to The Byrds, Tom Petty and even The Who and Stones. You can definitely hear all those influences, but it’s like they’re diluted into their own undemanding comfy sound. It is melted down in pretty sweet chords and soft-rolling rhythms. The guitar solos, however, are indubitably Chuck Berry-based.
The Phantoms’ whole album is a breeze. They take it so smoothly that you also follow their rhythm with a lightness that wraps up like a feather around your senses. The only exceptions being “Coming After You” and “Chump Change,” which have a bit more pep in Victor’s more defiant voice whilst maintaining the same clarity one experiences throughout the whole album.
The Phantoms make me want to pick up my car, which I don’t own anymore, and drive for miles and miles down the coast. I can almost touch it: the sea breeze, the smell of the asphalt, the purring of the motor and the no-destination feel. How I miss it!
If you’re about to hit the road, do yourself a favour and take The Phantoms’ self-titled album with you. It is the perfect sound for a perfect road trip.
By Penelope York
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