Thursday, May 16, 2013
THE ROSE PHANTOM
Taking a cue from the New Romantic movement of the early 80s, The Rose Phantom has released an incredibly well produced set of strong, melodic songs. Understanding that synthetic backdrops can only succeed if the listener has a hook to hang their proverbial hats on, each selection is carefully arranged for maximum sonic impact. Mining ground similar to that of early Gary Numan, Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode, technology is nicely bevelled with raw human emotion. It must be stressed that only the positive characteristics of the aforementioned artists are present, with themes and lyrical subject matter belonging solely to the artist.
Epic soundscapes underpin every cut on Abandon. Great care is taken to ensure that individual instruments have a definitive presence in the mix, with every note placed perfectly. The vocals are not buried in pitch correction software, but instead are allowed to breathe, which is a plus for a contemporary recording. It is an expressive voice that is on display here, lending power to every track. Highlights abound: "Here it Is", "New Dreams" and the brilliant opener, "All I Want", which is built on a foundation of ominous, well deployed keys and a haunting chorus. Gripping listening, though don't let that stop you from enjoying the rest. There is an added bonus of subliminal layers of sound throughout the disc. Whispered words and interesting instrumental passages designed to catch your attention on the first pass only to send your brain back to spin the songs again. Guaranteed that you will, as there is quite a bit to take in.
Equating this record with a color or mood, I would point to the shade of a sky at dusk as nocturnal urges slowly lead the senses down a new path, destination to be determined. There are definite rewards in staying the course.
Commitment to uniformity in style and execution is commendable, without detours into a musical version of multiple personality disorder. The Rose Phantom owns their vision, delivering a consistent and satisfying song cycle.
Overall the production is immaculate, perfectly complementing the writing which is bolstered by strong performances on all counts. For those of you out there who still like good melodies, as opposed to "noises" haphazardly dropped on top of "beats", you will really enjoy Abandon. All of the pop sensibilities that drove the best electronic music of a bygone era married to modern technology. Produced and engineered by "Danegerous" Dane Morrow and The Rose Phantom, the disc was mastered by Aidan Foley at Masterlabs (U2, Foo Fighters, Dead Can Dance).
You can purchase a copy of Abandon and find out more about The Rose Phantom right here