[sic] Magazine

Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

Just as a phantogram is an optical illusion, Eyelid Movies is not quite what it first seems. The sultry, squeaky, breathy electro-pop single “Mouthful Of Diamonds” and the subsequent thudding, looping “When I’m Small” lend Phantogram ‘s debut LP a sense of shimmering, disinterested class similar to that of The Golden Filter .

However, the running order then quickly takes one of its many detours, veering into Josh Carter ‘s monotone, which provides “Turn It Off” with an aggressive urban quality when paired with the bass-heavy beats. The track itself is ultimately nicely tempered by Sarah Barthel ‘s sweet cooing.

Giddy, high-end guitar peaks run a post-rock finale through several tracks, and a restrained indie trip-hop vein is introduced thanks to the quiet clap-beats of “You Are The Ocean”. Buoyed by Carter’s delayed guitarwork and occasional vocal, Barthel more commonly takes the lead often carrying proceedings into sunny psych-pop, and less often into darker, sexier, Zola Jesus -like simmering.

Eyelid Movies even retreats as far as dirty new-wave synths for “Running From The Cops” and the softly epic “All Dried Up”. It doesn’t all succeed. For example, “Bloody Palms” verges on indifference, despite its angular dynamism, and “Let Me Go” falters, struggling with the standard laid down earlier, coming across more as an ambient Blonde Redhead b-side than with Chromatics cool. Nevertheless, Phantogram manage to keep the listener interested.

It’s more than fair to say that where the myriad themes blend, they do so well, seemingly taking slow-bass nods from the otherworldly ambience of The xx . Fractured commercial beats return to steady Eyelid Movies at its mid-point as the frosty electro-pop of “As Far As I Can See” proves. “Futuristic Casket” is not far from being its reprise, differing only in vocal and tapering off towards shrugging banality and throw-away Moby-isms.

Forgivable mistreads aside, Phantogram truly have an EP-size amount of quality material at their disposal. Understandable, first album immaturity has perhaps led the upstate New Yorkers to pad out their oeuvre into a comfortable long-player, but more focus on distant glitz and less on safe ambience in the future and success will be no illusion.

Eyelid Movies is out now on Barsuk Records .