Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

Eyelid Moives

This album, especially the first four songs, are like Phantogram asked me what I wanted in music and gave it to me. “Mouthful of Diamonds” has a sad female vocalist (keyboardist Sarah Barthell), shoegaze guitars, and a seagull sounding synth progression. “When I’m Small” starts with guitar riff that sounds country gone shoegaze and hiphop beats. Barthell pleads to be taken underground, and eventually says “I’d rather die than be with you” and a wailing synth drives the point home. Third track “Turn It Off” brings in another hiphop beat, pulsing morse code synths, and now a male vocalist (other group member, guitarist Josh Carter). Then the chorus brings in a countermelody with more shoegaze guitars and the line, “I could have been easier on you”. After the first chorus there’s a great breakbeat section and a return of that pulsing synth. Finally, “Running From The Cops” has a slippery drum machine beat and a fantastically weird rubbery synth line. This time Carter sings in a heavily processed voice that makes him sound underwater. These first four songs are incredibly unique, unsettling and jaded.

The rest of the album is really good electro shoegaze and trip hop. “All Dried Up” and “Let Me Go”, both sung by Sarah Barthell, reminds me of perhaps Broadcast or Massive Attack. “As Far As I Can See”, with its samples and jittery guitar line, reminds me of Portishead, especially with a lead line, “as far as I can see, nobody loves me”. “You Are The Ocean” and “Bloody Palms”, are both more dream pop and remind me a lot of Blonde Redhead, both in the guitar lines and his vocals. Lyrically, the album is also dark. For example the line “when I pull my teeth out” from “Bloody Palms” or “the dust you kicked in my face” from “Let Me Go”. Eyelid Movies is very dark and seductive, and I think that mood is what ties it all together and helps it sound like Phantogram instead of all the reference points I’ve listed.

When I’m Small

Running From The Cops

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