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reviews /  member album review
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Phantom Buffalo - Shishimumu
by: alternativemalta  25 march 05
rating: rating of 4

Phantom Power
I have just experienced an aural orgasm. It was messy, waxy and utterly wonderful. Usually these happen in the summer months when thoroughly excellent albums start making an appearance but this one was early, and thank goodness for that. A change of pace can be very healthy.
The band in question are Portland’s ‘Phantom Buffalo (formerly The Ponys) and the album is Shishimumu (which was released a couple of years ago in the states).

The music is simply wonderful, uplifiting, joyous, exuberant and loads of other adjectives.
There is a heavy Byrds element in most of the songs, from the jangle (on almost all the tracks) to the use of pedal steel (‘Anywhere With Oxygen’). This coupled with frontman Jonathan Balzano-Brookes Fran Healyesque vocals make this a special record indeed.
Oh and I didn’t even mention the lyrics! Man, with lyrics such as:

“Wilamena, you’re a bug crawling on my knee. It’s not a metaphor I mean it quite literally” (‘Wilamena’)


“I saw pieces of his last meal on his shirt and shawl’ (Distracting Salamander)”

I would proclaim this group to be the heirs to Seussian logic. Elsewhere there are kazoo solos and cowbells and songs about fleas. A feast for the ears.
By far my favourite track is Wimp Souffle’. With a sound that’s as catchy as chicken pox, it shimmers with optimism and is an excellent song for any situation and time (yes I’ve tested it out).
What else can I saw about Phantom Buffalo other than the fact that ‘Shishimumu’ is already one of my albums of 2005? No I’ll leave at that.
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