|It should take only a few minutes of this self-titled album for you to realize that it is clearly not your big sister's Phantom Planet. The innocence of their first album is gone, and the pop-friendly tones of their second are completely forgotten. But this isn't necessarily bad. Change can often be a good thing.
From the first notes of "The Happy Ending" to the last of "The Meantime," Planet's third album proves that it is their most rocking to date. There are pitfalls, inevitably, but for every weak moment there are more than ten to make up for it. Alex Greenwald's voice is stronger than ever, and gets its due time on most of the tracks. The first single, "Big Brat," aces is a surprisingly refreshing way, even if its title leaves something to be desired. The best track is found in the ballad-esque "By the Bed," in which every key player of Planet seems completely in control and Greenwald's voice is both masterful and moving, unlike ever before.
While this latest effort is clearly an attempt at relieving the boys of Phantom Planet of their teenage-friendly audience, it is an admirable attempt no doubt. If it weren't for the sale of their last single "California" to the teenage-savvy Fox Network, their goal may have stood a chance. Perhaps Planet should settle to make music for themselves, and quit trying to worry about the audience.
At any rate, "Phantom Planet" is a strong transitional third album wrought with conflicting voices and varying experimental sounds. For this California quintet, it appears change is most definitely a good thing.
Phantom Planet is: Alex Greenwald, Sam Farrar, Jacques Brautbar, Darren Robinson, Jason Schwartzman, and Jeff Conrad.
|review by Ashley Graham|