Freddy And The Phantoms - 'Decline Of The West'

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Freddy And The Phantoms - 'Decline Of The West'

The musicianship is superb and there isn't really a duff track on the album.

In 2015, Freddy And The Phantoms' 'Times Of Division' was one of my Top Three albums of the year, so I settled down with high expectations for 'Decline Of The West', their fourth album. Trying to fit this group into a genre is like trying to grasp smoke; just as you think you've got it, you hear another nuance that throws you. Ultimately, they are a Blues Rock band, but one with generous seasonings of Jazz, Swing, Southern Rock, and even a pinch of Prog.

I suspect not a little of this is down to Anders Haars' keyboard, as there are the Keith Emerson-esque synth sounds in 'The Wild Ones (Revisited)', seedy piano in 'City Of Crime' and an authentic sixties sound in 'NYC 1965'. Tying it all together is Frederik Schoors' very distinctive, smokey vocal. The band have a distinctly US retro feel that belies their Danish origin. The tracks are an eclectic mix, from the short and Rocky 'Call Me The Creature', with its piano stabs and twanging guitar sound, to the gentle schmooziness of 'The Last Café', and a full eight minute offering in the aforementioned '...(Revisited)', a track that could easily sit on a Prog album.

Title track 'Decline Of The West' could very easily be performed in a smoke-filled cellar, behind the doors of a latter day speakeasy. 'Behind The Curtain' is Jack Daniels-soaked Southern Blues Rock, complete with searing harp and Honky-Tonk piano; it's only missing a distant trains whistle and the rustle of tumbleweed. 'Transition Blues' is a Hammond-driven groove version of the same genre.

Did this release meet my expectations? Yes, it certainly did. The musicianship is superb and there isn't really a duff track on the album; 'Decline Of The West' is certainly worthy of your pennies.

Helen Bradley Owers

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