Life and Illusion/Sway

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Alternating between the lush etherealism of dream pop and the soulful romanticism of Pink Floyd-style space rock, Phaser's first EP for Emperor Norton is a mixed bag. First, the throbbing drone of "Life and Illusion" provides echoing guitars, pulsating basslines, and tribal drumming that lead into energetic choruses and ambient breakdowns like the band was coming straight out of 1989 Manchester. But the simplistic space rock of "Would You Believe?" is a different story, offering a fairly generic run-through of clich├ęd lyrics and predictable moments that take the air out of the EP. Luckily, "Sway" pulls the listener back in with a gorgeous melody and a slow build that captures the only real human moments of the record, hinging on the delicate vocals of Boris Skalsky while the music moves from a sparse acoustic ballad to a massive orchestration of loud guitars and sentimental melodies. Although the middle track is a disappointment, there are two awesome songs sandwiching it that point to better things. This EP may not be solid throughout, but it makes for an excellent sampler, if only because it displays their most extreme strengths and weaknesses in only 15 minutes.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:35
2 4:24
3 7:35
blue highlight denotes track pick