Lust and sin are all that I want

There are some who might argue that, since The Phantom Band are from Glasgow, are signed to Chemikal Underground Records, and had the delgados' Paul Savage produce their debut album, all they really needed to do was record a dog taking a shit into a trombone, and I'd give it a fawning review. This would be entirely justified, so I'll try to be objective here.

'Checkmate Savage' is a little uneven - there are a couple of songs that don't quite do it, like 'Crocodile' which is noisy but in mitigation, involves bagpipes. Not shockingly for a band that describes itself as "Proto Robofolk," it’s an eclectic affair, with consecutive songs, and often parts of the same songs, veering off into different directions, sometimes more jarringly than others. This makes 'Checkmate Savage' a difficult album to fall for, but it's worth the effort.

'Folk Song Oblivion' is ace and sounds like Kraftwerk and at the end it sounds like Michael York is singing. New single 'The Howling' is equally epic and driven by a killer beat, which is sustained throughout the record. 'Island' calms things down a little and is very pretty. 'Checkmate Savage' is not for everyone, but if you're up for it, you'll get something out of it.


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