Published Oct 05, 2016Three is different than Phantogram's previous releases. The hip-hop-influenced electro-pop duo have clearly grown a bit more comfortable with the conventional pop world; single "You Don't Get Me High Anymore" is as radio-friendly as anything they've done, and has some mainstream success to show for it.
Unfortunately, songs like that single provide the more boring parts of the record; it's just one in a long, long line of comedown songs that have been flooding the airwaves for a few years now. The beats and hooks are simple and effective, but nothing you couldn't imagine Tove Lo or any other number of pop singers churning out. Phantogram's creativity shines through when they embrace the past: "You're Mine" has a satisfying, blues-y call and response riff that works well combined with the heavy bass of the synth, while "Barking Dog" is another interesting change from the norm, a simple and poetic repetition of a few phrases ("Hurt people hurt people too"; "Never mind the barking dog"). Both songs are bolstered by strings, which provide a sense of power and significance. "Run Run Blood," a longer track with more moving parts that lead to a great hook and a fund breakdown, is similarly ambitious, as is the brooding, emotional and powerful "Destroyer."
Three's high points come when some of the pop veneer is pulled back to let more raw, real feeling through. Overall, it's a solid record that should draw a wider audience to Phantogram's music. (Republic Records)