steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Phantom Lights

"Chordae Tendinae" 10" EP


Genre: indie rock

Portland, OR

December 2009

These three young Portland ladies know their way around a pop hook, and this swell garage record frames their compositions nicely. This appears to be the only release these three have put out, but fortunately it's a swell slab of ten-inch vinyl.

Side A begins with "Birds," a dreary-eyed pop song with a hint of punk attitude, its strength being its jangly, Orchids-esque guitar part. It is, perhaps, the most overtly melodic track on this EP. "After the War," meanwhile, is a darker affair -- it replaces the stroll of the previous track with passionate, almost pained vocals which become a tad grating. True to its name, "Dos Locos" is an even more driving, punk-tinged effort; desperate and raucous, it packs a decent wallop and has a nice, debauched guitar melody which harkens quite admirably back to early 90s indie rock.

Side B features more girl-group garage-cum-punk-cum-pop nuggets, beginning with the awesome minor-key guitar part of "See You Around," whose 'riot grrl' vocals are sadly a tad too piercing for my tastes. Meanwhile, "Ratt and the Rabbits" is the most invigorating track on here, starting with a meandering little passage before accelerating into a raunchy roll - once again, the vocals can be a hurdle at their most fervid, though I really like the track's design as a whole. Instrumentally, Chordae Tendinae is a tremendously solid slab of grungy indie rock, but when the vocals kick into shrill mode they detract from the affair. These mar an otherwise bad-ass affair.

phantom lights' myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 7 tracks, distributed by the label, released June 2007]