[Insight Out, 2010]
Intro: Kostas Barbas
Translation: Lefteris Statharas
The Larissa born Phase are an interesting case of a Greek band (even though their current base is the UK). They classify themselves in the post-punk revival movement, even though their music has elements from the wider indie and alternative rock genre, and many alt-prog influences. At the moment, they are creating their third full-length studio album. At the same time they found an opportunity to re-release their debut In Consequence that came out in 2010 and it relatively moved the waters in the alternative genre (The Wait followed in 2014). It’s worth noting, that they have share the stage with Anneke Van Giersbergen, Danny Cavanagh, Sivert Hoyem, Jeff Martin, The Twilight Sad and Antimatter (Duncan Patterson is featured in one of the songs of In Consequence). However, the most impressive entry to their CV is their live appearance in Syria, being the second international band to do so after Gorillaz.
West meets east or east meets west?
After a few full listens of In Consequence, the first thing that οne perceives is the certainness in which Phase have decrystallized their personal sound (something that is also true in The Wait). Their alternative rock is dark, with an intense eastern atmosphere, many progressive games, executed in a constant cold psychedelic background. Their influences are clear, but they are in no way undermining their personal sound. E.g. even the clear reference to The Tea Party (and ergo to Led Zeppelin) in the instrumental Evening On My Dark Hillside, isn’t annoying and it works as a break right in the middle of the album.
As mentioned above, their eastern scales play a big role in the music structure of Phase. This element exists in almost all of the tracks, either in their basic melody, or in the background orchestration and it is so characteristic that the album could be classified as eastern alternative rock. Even the psychedelic background of their sound is probably inspired hookah smoking more than anything else. The post-punk element that they are also preaching mostly appears in the sound of the bass guitar.
In Consequence has very good coherence and consistency, while all the tracks are interesting as units. The emphasis of the band in the songwriting is clear and it’s one of its strengths. The way in which their ideas are laid and interchange as well as the imaginative orchestral tricks, bring the level of the whole album up. An album that falls behind only in some parts. Firstly, the vocals, they are in no way annoying, but in an album that they have a leading role, they stay in the mind of the listener as extras. Secondly, the production could be better (something that is true, even more so, in The Wait) and it could mainly help the very rich orchestration to be the highlight in the ear of the audience.
By re-listening the debut album of Phase, and having in mind their second album, it’s clear that the band is ready to cross to the next stage. In a large degree hey hold the secrets of the sound that they chose to have and they seem to have a lot of inspiration so without a doubt we must wait and see what the future holds.
7.5 / 10
Of all the things that happen in the debut of Phase, one attribute is clear: the exchange between art and reality flows in an immediate way. The experiences, the worldview of the three band members that are within the lyrics are expressed through a musical dialect that first takes you with it and then it imprints one image after the other. A dialect that successfully grasps different branches of rock and much more, from the ‘70s until today. A rollercoaster of sounds, with main basis in progressive rock from 1995 and the establishment of Porcupine Tree, that as it evolves it presents a neo-prog inspired face that is combined with the events of the early ‘10s. Electric evacuations of controlled coarse noise are exchanged with soft acoustic passages and psychedelia leads as aesthetic, western and eastern idiosyncrasies in the melodies and the rhythms are finding a landing point, extroversion and introversion are used in a balanced and delicate way. In Consequence seems to follow the flow of time presenting more and more elements that are there to be noticed.
8 / 10