The sounds of the era between grunge and hip-hop are back through the happy pop-rock quintet Phantom Planet.
Phantom Planet, named after a corny 1960s sci-fi flick, is Jacques Brautbar (guitars, vocals), Sam Farrar (bass, vocals), Alex Greenwald (lead vocals, guitar), Darren Robinson (guitar) and Jason Schwartzman (drums).
The Los Angeles band formed, in 1994, is influenced by bands like U2, Air and the Flaming Lips. While the members were still in their teens, Phantom Planet landed a deal with Geffen Records in 1996 and began production on its full-length debut later that summer. Phantom Planet’s first album, “Phantom Planet is Missing,” was released in 1998 and the band followed up that album with a nationwide tour.
In early 2001, the band began recording “The Guest.” “The Guest” is a collision of youth and melody set to a soundtrack of contemporary guitars and atmospheric samplers.
Their sound is instantly reminiscent of Oasis’ “What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?” album. There is a mimicking of guitar hooks that does exactly what it says – “hooks” you into the song before the vocals even start.
The vocals, sounding slightly of a jaded Counting Crows or Collective Soul, add enormous power to the songs.
“California,” the first song off the 12-track album, is most definitely contagious with its weary verses and pounding chorus. The band grabs the attention of its audience by the fourth track, “One Ray of Sunlight,” with its refreshing acoustics.
The album is a great mix of interesting guitar hooks, easy-going lyrics and catchy melodies. The songs do something that not many albums can do these days – hold your attention the whole way through.
The band released the Epic Records debut, “The Guest,” on Feb. 26, and can currently be found on tour in the United States. It will also play this summer on the Civic Tour with Incubus.
The band has recorded a cover version of Dobie Gray’s “The ‘In’ Crowd” for the 2000 Melissa Joan Hart movie, “Drive Me Crazy.”
For more information on tour dates and about the band, check out their Web at www.phantomplanet.com.