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Music Review: The Phantom Band's Phantomime

Missy Lorelei braves the recent event at Stereo and finds much to like.

Where to start?

Radio Scotland DJ Vic Galloway masked as the satanic, foul-mouthed compere, the evil landlord Albert Ross (geddit)? The psych-saccharine nightmare visions of filmmaker Rachel Mclean? Or perhaps, with the Beckett-esque ushers and cleaning lady played by the inspired/inspiring 85A collective? Not so much “Humbug” as ‘Humbug left to fester for six months,” this is an interesting collaborative project- and that is before you even get to the bands…

First up, are Muscles of Joy, an all-women band combining plainsong post-punk and percussion to startling effect. A slow-burner, they start quietly, murmuring incantations before whipping up a sonic thunderstorm. The debut album’s out now.

Dapper gents Tut Vu Vu make music that lurks undetected in the wormiest corner of the brain like a half-remembered dream. It’s cinematic, sexy and jazz-inflected and seems better suited to a seedy 1950s dance hall than the sweaty confines of Stereo. Tonight, they have glitter-and balls to spare…

And lo! Holy Mountain didst smell the glove- and t’was greasy… Imagine every metal riff from 68-80, stuck in a blender and pureed, whereupon you are force-fed said riffage by three hirsute men in muscle vests. Then you have experienced the wonder that is Holy Mountain. The titles say it all –“Great Monkey”, anyone? I can say no more.

Headliners The Phantom Band, usually so full of fire, are initially a little lackluster tonight. However, the Prince sass of “O” picks up the pace and the persistent Krautrock throb of “Howling” reminds us why we fell in love with the eccentric uber-Pagan Glaswegians in the first place- a shot of pure adrenaline. Uneven then, but their patchy is still better than most indie bands’ best.

Oh yes…it is.

Tags: music

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