by Jeff Milo
You should probably listen to this now.
Those multi-tracked harmonies kaleidoscope with sunspot brilliance over these sparking guitars that effect this giddy jogging, a half-jumping kind of a run...a burst, finally, into the warm outdoors that we've all been longing for...running down atop the rhythm sections hilly grooves with a fervency threatening to stumble but yet barely maintaining its meticulous riffs. The Phantom Cats are a dance-craze onto themselves and there's lots of steps you'd have to learn. There are more steps than the Charleston and they make landing all of them look uncannily easy. Or, well, maybe they step on your toes once or twice (or thrice). Anyway. There's more flails than a rave and more dips than the tango, there's plenty of swagger like a salsa - and they bring the strange, punk-punctured flamenco flavor to match that. And then that voice, soaring and pogo-ing, sashaying and sighing, throaty at some points, cooing at others, stitching a striking melody here but sometimes just meandering with the breeze.
Photo by Alicia Gbur
It's as exuberant and colorful as a sardonic Saturday morning cartoon -with explosions and masked superheroes zooming through the sky and getting into pie-fights but it's also urgent and rowdy and rough-hewn as anything else that's thrashed and trundled through the punk-friendly rock houses around this local scene. It's also very percise, at points, with funky, freewheeling rhythms that can kink your neck with sudden re-locking into formation, fill-heavy rock messes become those intricate dance-steps very quickly. The guitars are noisy metal roars through the choruses but prickle along with a blurring pizzicato-y vigor, almost erratic, all around the knuckle-testing lengths of the fretboard. And, again, that voice, the lead vocals - operatic at certain crescendos but cherubic in its crackling lullaby at the swooning bridge, the whole track's like sunshine-bottled and fitfully sublimed into this breathy, booming being.
So... there's that.
For Blowout: The Phantom Cats perform inside the Ferndale Public Library, during the 2nd weekend, on Friday, May 3rd, with Pupils and Pewter Cub.