Phantogram fuses an indie rock sound with the electronic backing of a drum machine, sampler and synthesizer. Sara Barthel, the lead singer, uses some effects to distort her voice and create a bit of dreamy sound. Her voice is somewhat soothing and enjoyable to take in. When Josh Carter, Phantogram’s guitarist, occasionally sings, he harmonizes and balances out Barthel’s smooth voice with something a bit more coarse. Their vocals compliment each other in a very pleasing way.
The songs on Nightlife are somewhat varied in sound. Some of them, like “Don’t Move,” are dancy, upbeat and could easily be radio hits. Others, like “Turning into Stone” are a bit jazzier and mellow. All together, the six tracks give you a good idea of how well-rounded Phantogram is musically. Generally, the tracks have a lounge feel to them, making it very easy to take in.
Not all the songs will be played repeatedly. Some of the tracks are somewhat indistinguishable for the casual listener. But four solid songs out of six is better ratio than one typically gets on an album these days [see: Little Wayne].
Party Goer Opinions
Dad: “I liked it. It was very soothing.”
My opinion: The album is easy to listen to and I think it has a lot of mainstream appeal. Phantogram seems to be on the right track to success and this EP solidifies them as a band to watch.
Verdict: If you like solid female vocals, an indie rock sound, and synthesizers this group is for you.
When to play Nightlife: This album is great for listening to in the office, at a gathering with friends, or just hanging out with friends.
Favorite Tracks: Don’t Move, Turning into Stone, A Dark Tunnel
Download “Don’t Move” from Pitchfork.