Phantom Planet – Devastator (Gong Records)
If you’re like me and you were a huge closet fan (because you were way too old to be an “out” fan) of the teen drama the O.C. in the early 2000s, then you are already familiar with at least one song by Phantom Planet, “California”. This little band actually had 4 studio albums between 1994-2008, but haven’t played together or released anything since. Even though Jason Schwartzman is no longer a band member (fun fact, he was the drummer for the band from 1994-2003), I am still a fan of this band that I have heard dubbed as the kings of “wholesome American Indie”.
It’s always tricky for bands with long spanning careers to release new albums, especially when they have fallen into a strict genre of music. On the one hand, fans expect a sound that they can recognize. We want to be able to turn on the radio and say “Hey, that’s Phantom Planet!” On the other hand, we want something fresh and new, something that doesn’t sound exactly like the previous album from 2018. Devastator does a great job of this on both accounts. Their unnecessary teenage angst is gone (come on guys, you live in California), but what remains is an album of heartfelt melodies, exceptional instrumentals, and an album that I have not been able to stop playing on repeat.
My favorite song on the album also happens to be the first single released: “Time Moves On”. This is a bit of a sad and angsty song (albeit more grown up level angst) about time passing us by and the constant hope for things to change, all the while they just stay the same. “BALISONG” and “Party Animal” both play like upbeat rock anthems, and “Through the Trees” is a tale of accepting heartbreak from a “gated community turf”. “Torture Me”, “Waiting for the Lights to Change”, and “Gold Body Spray” are all also break up songs, presumably about the “devastator” who seems to have done just that.
Overall, Devastator is a no-skip playthrough, an album that will remind you of your emo days while remaining modern and relevant.
FFO: Rooney, Augustana, Neon TreesRead More »