Phantom - The Lexington, London
As a long-haired, hoodie-wielding metalhead, I stick out like a sore thumb amongst the "kool kids" at The Lexington tonight so I'm rather delighted when first band King Antics open up with some great feedback-drenched ambient noise manipulation, before they unfortunately but not entirely unpredictably dive into the mire of tiresome electro-pop for which they are so stereotypically dressed. What we have here is Hoxton's answer to the Pet Shop Boys, only 25 years too late; that is right up until the last track, when they magically metamorphosis into some Franz Ferdinand copycat...
Hyrst manage to pull off the bizarre combination of being both incoherent and derivative at the same time. Whilst trying to imitate the wave of American indie experimentalists of the 1990s such as Sonic Youth, albeit at their mellowest, they never quite seem to grasp the fundamentals of actually experimenting. But at least we get a spot of entertainment with the comical scene of the bass player attaching contact mics to a cymbal and then straining to get it to feedback, a novel if somewhat futile trick, especially given that thirty seconds later he gets far more dynamic and rewarding feedback from his bass.
The night belongs to Phantom; here to celebrate the launch of debut album Smoke & Mirrors, their criminally short set of a mere half hour extols all the virtues of the majestic record. Opening with an extended version of 'Sphinx', the duo immediately draw us into their ghostly otherworld of gorgeous music and half-seen mysteries. Like the album, the set fits together to create a whole even greater than the sum of its magnificent parts; 'Blood Music' slides effortlessly into tonight's zenith 'Love In A Void' with ethereal e-bowed guitars swirling around beautiful melodies in a psychedelic haze of pop meets ambient meets utter bliss. As the final strains of 'We Float' collapse into noise, the sheer class and sparkle surely means bigger and better crowds and venues beckon; but we were here, we were the ones who witnessed this very special thirty minutes.