After four years away, Scottish troopers the Phantom Band are billing ‘Strange Friend’ as their nononsense, back-to-basics album.
That’s not to say things have got any simpler: across its 45 minutes,
coilsprung post-punk gives way to thunderous heavy metal,
Velvetsy garage-band scratch and burbling electronics, and there’s even a
dabbling with the kind of quiet Americana.
‘Strange Friend’’s stylistic restlessness,
there’s a wonderfully addictive, bluntinstrument insistence running
through Rick Anthony’s tunes here:
his baritone croon cuts through the surrounding complexity and offers a continuity and cohesion to the record.
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It doesn’t always work ‘Sweatbox’’s sweetness is dulled by overly forced cleverness, and stretching
‘No Blue Shoes’’s one good idea over six minutes is not the Phantom Band’s finest editing decision.
had been in training for the moment all along.
“Working with Geoff was kind of what I was doing anyway,” she says.
“Listening to records all the time, having strong opinions about things
and tweaking things, and telling people to change little things here and
which I thought would be better,
it was a very similar kind of role and I realised quite quickly that that
was actually the perfect role for me.
It was kind of what I was doing unofficially anyway.”
Jeanette and Geoff’s burgeoning musical relationship saw Rough Trade
Records blossom as the decade came and went.
Bands like The Sundays and Galaxie 500 joined
The Smiths on their enviable roster as Jeanette settled into life as a label boss.
“When I first arrived it was going really well and the thing I remember thinking was being really
pleasantly surprised by some of the things that Geoff was working with at the time, like Jesus and the Mary Chain,The Phantom Band Strange Friend
straight away I got that and felt really at home with them.
We had a mutual respect for each other so that was all good,
so there was some really great things going on musically, which encouraged me to dive in.”
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