posted on 8/2010 By:
Stoner-sludge foursome Phantom Glue may hail from Boston, but their music shows signs of ascending a Holy Mountain and passing through Seattle in the mid-80s and New Orleans a few years later before setting sail on The Red Sea. Their 27-minute self-titled EP provides as much rock as it does heft and dirt, and should come as a welcome distraction to fans who prefer their stoner with a little less haze and their sludge with fewer trips to the Betty Ford Clinic.
An obvious penchant towards the grit of early grunge and the swagger of riff-heavy stoner metal ensures that the sludge side of Phantom Glue’s sound forgoes the vein-opening tendencies that much of the genre alludes to. As such, the lumbering intro to “Black Tar” likely resembles what EHG would sound like without Mike Williams spewing his heroin sauce all over the place (for better or worse, you decide). While there are certainly some paranoia-induced minor key melodies (one riff in the title/eponymous track has a definitive Rwake quality), much of the music focuses on being as charismatic as it is brick-heavy, aided by gruff vocals that actually show signs of personality and a bass-washed elephantine production.
The rocking reaches its peak when Phantom Glue unleashes a furious groove or jam, often punctuated by a guitar solo. Closer “Scabman” shifts from a slightly twangy mid-tempo first half into one such section, ending the disc on its highest note with a bouncing and rumbling solo backdrop. A shortage of such balls-to-the-wall virtuousness may be the only real fault here. Would these songs benefit from being opened up to introduce more of this “live” nature, or would it dull the crisp attack? Hard to tell, but the feeling that the EP leaves you wanting isn’t all due to its brevity. Regardless, Phantom Glue is doing something very right, and when they hit the target they hit it dead goddamn center.
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