Vault back to the dawn of 2009. Signed the previous year to Glasgow independent label Chemikal Underground are The Phantom Band, a six- piece group that meld folk, Krautrock, the blues, art-rock and anything else that comes to hand, lacing their idiosyncratic, intricate tapestries with effortless pop melodies delivered by the mahoganized baritone of singer Rick Anthony.
The group’s debut album, ‘Checkmate Savage’, immediately attracts widespread acclaim from critics in the national music press and newspapers.
“A record as auspicious and accomplished as it is unforeseen” - Keith Cameron, Mojo (4/5 stars)
“This kraut-folk groove-fest could have been bashed out by The Beta Band’s little brothers” - Camille Pia, NME (8/10)
“Were they from Brooklyn rather than Glasgow, Checkmate Savage would have been acclaimed as a benchmark album of 2009” - Michael Hann, The Guardian (4/5 stars)
“This debut is fearlessly ambitious and unexpectedly commercial” - Steve Jelbert, The Times (4/5)
Fans of the group’s heady brew swiftly snap up all vinyl copies of the album, the result being stratospheric prices for those searching for it on the second hand vinyl market.
A decade on, Chemikal Underground is proud to announce the imminent rebirth of an album that remains as spectacularly imaginative as it was the first time round, presented in a package that does 100% justice to the original songs, which were deftly produced by Paul Savage - whose credits include Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote, Deacon Blue and many more - at the label’s affiliated recording studio Chem 19 in Lanarkshire and Franz Ferdinand’s studio in Glasgow.
Deserving of a place in every record collection worth its salt, the stylistically wide open, moonstruck delights of ‘Checkmate Savage’ are, for the first time, spread over four sides of heavyweight vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve, with a digital download code. The record is available 10 years on from the release date of the original album.
This new edition - cut from the original masters - is an essential acquisition for those with an appetite for wildly creative, mischievous and aurally captivating music. A no-brainer, in other words.
The Phantom Band went on to release three more albums on Chemikal Underground - ‘The Wants’ (2010), ‘Strange Friend’ (2014) and ‘Fears Trending’ (2015) - while Anthony, under the name Rick Redbeard, has released two solo records on the label, ‘No Selfish Heart’ (2013) and ‘Awake Unto’ (2016).
PHANTOM BAND - CHECKMATE SAVAGE
- The Howling
- Burial Sounds
- Folk Song Oblivion
- Left Hand Wave
- Throwing Bones
- The Whole Is On My Side