An electro-pop dream
New York-based duo Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter of Phantogram have taken a huge step with their fourth studio album, Ceremony. The duo started creating music in the early 2000s and has created a unique name for themselves over their decade long careers. Since the release of their debut album in 2010, Eyelid Movies, the band has made moves through the electronic rock-pop genre. Ceremony shows off a transformed Phantogram that is filled with radio-ready anthems.
The 11-track album combines themes of optimism mixed with catastrophe in a beautifully blended listen from start to finish. The album opens with “Dear God,” a track that is piano powered and covered in crisp digital soundwaves. The album seems to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride as it switches from piano to heavy drums and foot-stomping drums in “In A Spiral.” The track is the perfect mix of Barthels booming vocals and synths that would make any music festival grounds go crazy.
“Into Happiness” holds onto classic Phantogram layers of synths and motifs. Barthel sings, “Fall into happiness/ wish you could be here/ no more loneliness/ let’s make it perfect.” The next track worth noting on Ceremony is “Pedestal” where Barthel once again allows her lyrical self to be vulnerable to the world around it, “You can make a hospital lovely/ I’m not afraid of the scars, they ain’t ugly/ I can heal it all if you’re lucky/ open up baby, you gotta trust me.”
Ceremony finds its hip-hop beat on “Mister Impossible” where Barthel and Carter seem to have some of the most fun on the whole album. The album ends with the title track “Ceremony.” The song is much darker than the rest of the album, the vocals are melodic as super dark synths and drums carry Barthels vocals away.
Phantogram has created music that has always been just a little different from what everyone else was doing. On Ceremony, however, the bands seem to have fallen into a more common thread of music as their fourth album plays more to the radio stations and music festivals then it does to their long time fans. That being said, Ceremony is still an electro-pop kid’s dream to listen to from start to finish