Phantogram’s new EP “Nightlife” marks a new direction by New York duo Josh Carter (guitar, vocals) and Sarah Barthel (keyboards, vocals). This electronic rock act thrives on innovative samples, crunchy hip hop beats, and dreamy guitar rifts to accompany the glossy production that “Nightlife” has to offer. While their debut album achieved mixed levels of critical acclaim, this EP showcases the attributes that made their debut successful while drawing in a more accessible sound.
Phantogram’s latest EP makes an obvious choice for KZUU’s Band of The Week, spanning six tracks, this record resembles more of an mini LP. It seems hard to view this as a creation from only two members with tracks as strong as “Make A Fist”, “A Dark Tunnel”, and the irresistible “Don’t Move.” Each track offers an exciting array of sound with Carter’s swirling guitars shifting in and out of lively beats and Barthel’s spacey keyboards creating such playful melodies. “Nightlife” makes for an intriguing listen.
“Don’t Move,” the first single from the EP is definitely one of the bands major career highlights. It’s a track that has the listener on the edge, waiting to see where each second will take you next. With Barthel’s vocals offering a breathy and seductive atmosphere it accompanies the track in just the right way, not overpowering but not understated. Carter’s guitar rifts swirl in and out of the track hidden underneath glitchy samples and crunchy beats. While the song itself is begging the listener to nod their head and twitch every limb, the lyrics provide a subtle contradiction. Barthel vocals insist “All you do is, shake, shake, shake, keep your body still, keep your body still.” Don’t Move is the perfect entry way into a flawless EP.