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Album, Single and EP Reviews

 

  Phantom Limb by Phantom Limb

Phantom Limb cover art

Artist: Phantom Limb
Title: Phantom Limb
Catalogue Number: Naim Edge Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2008


Opening simply with Yolanda Quarty's vocals backed with acoustic guitar, the album's first track, "Don't Say a Word", builds gently, adding drums and piano and topping things off with smooth gospel tinged harmonies.

"I'll Never Be the Same Again" starts with flowing piano and guitar arpeggios
then sets off into a jazzy, if somewhat dissonant, verse before kicking into a powerful chorus that sounds like the sun breaking through the dark tones of the preceding section. The arpeggios return for the bridge with Yolanda's improvised vocals floating on top. The final choruses build to allow a soaring display of vocal prowess before settling back into the more gentle arrangement of the introduction and bridge.

The mainly acoustic instrumentation shines in clear, uncluttered arrangements and the production highlights Yolanda's voice to perfection. Her voice is deep and dark but can rise to a smoky rasp to bring forth the emotions in such tracks as "Playing with Death". The album is lightly seasoned with Hammond organ, pedal steel guitar and even a hint of banjo. Slick and well manicured, there is no doubt that this is a professional product from talented musicians. However, this album takes a couple of listens before it takes hold and, even after it does, the whole is too downbeat and self-consciously earnest to be a 'fun' listen from start to finish. Musically and lyrically, it would have been good to hear some lighter moments to lift the somewhat melancholic feel that pervades the whole album.


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Reviewer:
Review Date: September 13, 2008