‘Phantom Limb’ is the eponymous title from the Bristol based six-piece.
So here’s the thing. I’d not heard of Phantom Limb when the CD turned up at my desk. The CD is very dark in colour, with gothic writing style on it. So I prepared myself for a blast of what I assumed to be a hard rock band. Imagine my surprise when out pours sweet soulful songs. There’s a story here about not judging books (or CD’s) by their cover.
This album has a predominantly soulful sound to it, with a feeling of soft deep-south country and bluegrass. The highlight is undoubtedly the beautiful sounds are raw power in the voice of singer Yolanda Quartey. Even though only in her early twenties, Yolanda has previously fronted Massive Attack, and contributes vocals to their forthcoming album. You start to get a feel about what you are dealing with here.
To describe the musical experience I can only think of early Aretha Franklin, with musical stylings of The Band (think ‘I Shall be Released’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’).
Stand out tracks on the album for me are the first single ‘Don’t Say a Word’ and ‘Withering Bones’. Both are beautifully arranged with a bluesy / gospel feel to the tracks. ‘Run’ has thought provoking lyrics, a catchy melody that may belie the words, and perfect use of piano and double bass evoking feelings of early Tracy Chapman.
The 10 songs that make up the album come in at a little under an hour, with the songs taking as long as they take, and not giving into 3 minute radio slots.
I’m not going to lie. I adore this album. It caught me by surprise, but I can’t stop listening to it. Go and buy it. Stop whatever you were doing, put some big old headphones on and listen to it. Debut albums like this don’t come up often, and they deserve lots of praise for it. Magic.