Phantogram, Nightlife

Marissa G. Muller

By Marissa G. Muller

on 11.01.11 in Reviews
Transforming tension into harmony

Nightlife comes from a place of unrest. Written as Phantogram’s Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel toured behind their debut album, Eyelid Moves, Nightlife recounts the tensions the Saratoga Springs, New York, duo felt while on the road: balancing their public and private lives, the inability to suppress their problems — with both each other and themselves — and their struggle to remain optimistic throughout the anguish. You can hear that tension in the music, too, in the push and pull between the hip-hop beats, glossy guitars and astral production; fortunately, Phantogram are able to transform their tension into harmony. The sturdiest of the lot, “Don’t Move,” is balmy and propulsive, and balances a skittish vocal sample with Barthel’s lush vocals. An accordion skips across the hook as she sings “A hole is in the sky…just the feeling like you’re gonna die,” but the music stays glued to the dance floor.