By Various Artists
Anthems From The Phantom is a compilation released by fledgling record label Phantom Power Records, based in Sheffield, and consequently weighted heavily towards Sheffield and Derby artists though not exclusively so. This release is a blueprint or a Mission Statement as to the direction in which PPR is aspiring to go - and what a statement it is!
In general I'm not a fan of compilations, especially when it's so easy to burn your own these days; I find that if the songs are any good I've already got them and the rest is just filler I want to skip past. There are 14 tracks by 14 artists on this album; I'd heard of less than half the bands and got none of the songs so I at least knew it would be introducing me to something new.
The compilation contains a number of distinctive tunes encompassing the spectrum of musical styles covered by the broad term "indie". The opening track "Share Your Kit" by Pete Green is a satirical acoustic number about bands unwilling to share their equipment that gently eases the listener into the album. In what's predominantly a male scene the ladies are very well represented here; the next two tracks "Dirty Pillowslip" by Screaming Mimi and "Star In Monaco" by Beangrowers could be from a Phil Spector dark dream; and later on CD we have the punk influenced "My Little Pony" by The Interiors and the Pixies-esque "Marketeers / Pity hands" by Balor Knights to name but a few. We've also got "Tonight" by Repomen that effortless blends retro and contemporary styles; "Bullet in the Eye" by Dark Sparks that sounds like Morrissey on acid; "Lottery Fashionista" by the Radiohead influenced Art Department; and finishing the album is "Everyone's Fault but Mine" by Lardpony that sounds like The View at their most fun; and that barely touches on the musical delights that are on here.
I was immediately impressed with the CD, from the quality of the song choices and the mixing to the attention to detail with the artwork and packaging. I can honestly say that this is a very lean album, free from filler or excess fat that I've come to expect from compilations. It's obviously a baby born of love for music as well as a vehicle to help raise the profile of the bands involved and not motivated by profit hence the ridiculously low price of just £6. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this became a very sought after item in years to come; it's a great introduction to a number of quality bands from the Sheffield region and beyond that are currently just below the radar and an essential buy for any audiophile.