Ever since we first heard them, Phosphene has had our attention. Their debut, self-titled LP was a fantastic first effort. Their 2016 EP, Breaker, was a stunner that left us wanting more. Thankfully, earlier this month, Phosphene released their latest full-length record, Lotus Eaters, which comes after a four-year break in releases. The hiatus was a period of transition and growth for the duo – and the country as a whole.
Lotus Eaters starts with an inviting, driving drum line on “Incinerate”. Eventually it’s joined by a catchy guitar hook that includes delightfully overdriven chords underneath. It’s got a big shoegaze vibe once it kicks in as singer Rachel Frankel’s voice floats in with a dreamy layer above everything. “Spiral” slows things down a bit, once again, driven by Matt Hemmerich’s drumbeat, which morphs throughout until its immense ending.
The ethereal feeling set during the first two tracks is continued throughout the middle of the record. Lotus Eaters has a flow to it, and it feels natural. Songs like “Frames” feel upbeat, and even poppy at times. “Seven Ways” and “The Body” follow it, and they are a 180-degree turn. It’s a great run of songs that adds an interesting dynamic to the album. “Carousel” is such a wonderful track to get lost in, highlighted by some soaring guitar work and, again, Frankel’s inviting voice.
“Cocoon” sticks out in its spot on Lotus Eaters. It’s comparatively upbeat, and between its vocal delivery and instrumentals it feels playful. It’s a great way to break up the record before it hits its final run, which is fantastic as well. Plenty of things that made the rest of the record great get kicked into another gear. The drumming stands out, especially the tom-heavy moments in “Incandescent Plumes”. The guitar on “The Wave” is reminiscent of some great post-rock tracks of the last decade. When it all gets wrapped up with “Skyscraper Shade”, Lotus Eaters leaves a fulfilling mark on the listener.
A lot can happen in four years. It’s been a tumultuous four years for America, especially the last few months. It’s been a time of growth and change, and the pains that come along with that. Since Breaker, Frankel and Hemmerich relocated from California’s Bay Area to Portland, Oregon. It’s not easy to leave roots laid behind, but it’s important to move forward. To change and grow, and the growth of Phosphene as a band has been delightful to listen to.
Lotus Eaters is out now, you can buy it on Phosphene’s Bandcamp.
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