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Lauded as an experimental, alternative band that's never been married to one genre, Phantogram-comprised of lifelong friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel-challenge the zeitgeist with their signature blend of hard-hitting beats, guitar-driven dark psychedelia and electronic pop. On March 6th they will release highly anticipated fourth studio album, Ceremony, which marks a rebirth and embodies a dark but hopeful chapter for the duo. Features recent singles "In A Spiral" and "Into Happiness".
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"Ceremony" (11 tracks; 37 min.) opens a bit tentatively with the piano-fronted "Dear God", only to then jump into the thick of the action. "In a Spiral" (3rd single) is a stadium-sized dance-along/sing-along ("I can see the end is comin' 'round/Every day, every day in a spiral/Better help me now, I'm goin' down/Every day, every day in a spiral"), its my favorite song on this album. But wait! there is much more! "Into Happiness" (1st single) is another hard-charging, can;t miss tune. "Pedestal" (4th single) doesn't let up. Holy cow, this album is worth getting just for those songs. We catch our breath on "Love Me Now". Later in the album we get "Mister Impossible" (2nd Single), another irresistible tune (and one of the album's few where Josh also sings). The album closes with the slowburner 6 min. title track. Nice! It is clear that with "Ceremony", Phantogram has rediscovered their mojo.
You haven't had the full Phantogram experience if you haven't seen the ban in concert. Live, they perform as a foursome, with a live drummer and guitarist, and the songs sound much heavier than what you hear on the albums. I've had the great fortune of seeing their shows a number of times over the last decade when they have come to Cincinnati (where I live), including also when they played the 2016 Bunbury music festival as Big Grams with Big Boi. I can only hope they will tour massively in support of this great new album.