We’ve got a live one here. Phantomatics pack more variety and imagination into three songs than you’d find in many albums. The opening verse of ‘Taking You Away’ alone could be spun out into the best single the Hives never made, yet changes tack to melodic Stiff-era new wave without missing a beat; an embarrassment of riches.
‘Pacific’ is the motherlode, conjuring up Blur at their stateliest and saddest. A thrumming, insistent wall of guitars and a mournful vocal are shadowed by that wordless howl which was never far beneath the skin of ‘Country House’ and the like. ‘Oh, blow me out, I am so sad, I don’t know why’. ‘Breaking Open the Head’ continues to stretch the slow-motion intensity before cutting off abruptly, leaving the thought: phew, what was that? Heavy or what, man.
The whole EP only lasts ten minutes but is a world in itself. Phantomatics can snap through the gear changes like a grunge band with opposable thumbs or create an atmosphere charged with menace. Their lyrics have a rare quality too – coming at the language from different angles (they are Brazilians based in London), such lines as ‘I’m ready to crumble in your arms tonight’ are singularly affecting. They’re true contenders all right.