CD Reviews

Published on March 2nd, 2016 | by The Beige Baron

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Review: Phantomonium by Hotel Wrecking City Traders

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On Phantomonium, Hotel Wrecking City Traders pull improvised psychedelic energy into focus on a long player that’s without doubt the band’s most exciting and potent work to date.

These four well-muscled pieces fit together into a seamless 45 minutes and catapult the band past the limitations usually imposed by electric guitar and a set of drums. Each has a clear destination in mind, but en-route you’re treated to high-altitude vista over a landscape that’s at times menacing and jagged, and at others, unexpectedly beautiful.

Guitarist Toby coaxes a kaleidoscope of sounds and textures from his pedal effectors—driving them at times through whoops and squalls of overdubbed Space Echo tape delay—while drummer Ben’s ability to switch gears and change the whole dynamic without breaking the groove makes for compelling listening.

From the rippling delay of opening track Dusted Pines to cataclysmic finale of Droned & Disowned Part I (with this jam completed as Part II on a recent split with UK psych legends Hey Colossus), these songs hum with a don’t-fuck-with-me tension in layers of guitar and chest-punching drums.

The album closes with Entering the Lodge, an upbeat head-nodder that brightens the dark vibe of this record with some rays of desert sunshine similar to those that warm the best moments on Brant Bjork’s Jalamanta. With its track of bass thrown in to add momentum, this could easily be the single to get the Wreckers get some sorely deserved attention overseas.

Phantomonium announces Hotel Wrecking City Traders not as a band with potential — as a band to “watch” — but one that’s fucking arrived. This album is one to own, to treasure, and to crank loudly at every available opportunity.

FFO: Pharaoh Overlord, Yawning Man, CAVE, Brant Bjork, Hawkwind

Phantomonium officially launches on March 18 on the UK’s Evil Hoodoo Records. Pre-order your vinyl copy here. Follow HWCT on facebook or bandcamp.


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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.



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