REVIEW: bad phantom, great music

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Indie-rock outfit 'Bad Phantom' has finally released their debut EP entitled "Moon Garden" and it's a breath of fresh air in the local Las Vegas music scene the band has come to call home. Positioned at the very tip of the mayhem that ensues in Downtown Las Vegas is Bunkhouse Saloon, a hip and fun bar & music venue that boasts the admiration of local artists and enthusiasts alike. "We wouldn't have wanted to do this anywhere else," Bassist Nick Boswell enthusiastically thanks the crowd and operators of Bunkhouse as they begin their EP Release Show. To many in this scene, the Saloon is home.

The band, which began writing their debut EP in April of last year, is both charming and intense on stage. Vocalist Shayna Mercer has the type of haunting but beautiful vocals that can bring hearts of stone to tears and her band mates cleverly place the perfect vibe and tone around said vocals. I had been listening to the EP for about a day and a half when I arrived at Bunkhouse to watch the band perform, and it was just as immersive and diverse live as it was recorded.

I was already in love with the music, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with the band members themselves. Their stage presence was phenomenal and one thing I quickly grew to admire was the bands ability to be notably having so much fun on stage while performing such powerful, moving music. It is refreshing to see musicians enjoying what they do while doing it so well. Guitarist Richie Dallaire was smiling and vibing to the music the entire time, making it impossible not to do the same along with him.

The EP itself is gorgeous and incredibly diverse when it comes to sound and structure. Songs like the opening track, Lonely Astronaunt are moving and chilling with wonderful soundscapes and an incredible, synthy finish. While other songs such as Bounce House or Bad Phantom play back and forth between the realms of soothing, eclectic vocals to fast and distorted guitar riffs that will make you wanna get up and dance.

Mercer's beautiful vocal range stretches across the the entire EP, dropping an array of themes and tones on the listener as she goes. In one of the more reserved, quiet tones the band delivers my personal favorite track on the record, titled "Ideas", which brings on the feels with a quiet but upbeat drum beat and incredibly moving lyrical themes.

Another song, "Water Colors" feels like a desert party in a song. The track has been treated to a gorgeous lyric video and calls in an extremely vibey, feel good way to help close the EP out. The song has both a romantic and dark tinge to it and it's an easy choice for a memorable single, paired with a fun and energetic bridge that steals the show for the release. The drums on this EP are extremely fun and the writing is super unique. Drummer Nick Strader brings a fun twist to nearly every song.

Finishing off the release is "Little Man", a song that clearly deals with quite personal themes and sails us out on a fun and eclectic note with more beautiful vocals attributed from Mercer and a quirky guitar fall out that perfectly wraps this indie rock package up for us to take home and dive into.

The release is impressive, diverse and exactly what the Las Vegas music scene needs. Also, the bands live performance of it from start to finish was just as entertaining and well done as it's recorded counterpart. Leaving Bunkhouse that night, I immediately put the Moon Garden EP back onto the stereo in my car and jammed out on the way home. It's exciting to see a band come out swinging the way this one has, and I cannot wait to see what they deliver next.

Check out "Moon Garden" out now on all Major Music Platforms

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