Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Phantom Drifters "Sea Of Stones"

(Self released 2006/2012)

"Gothabilly" is a term that has been used to pigeonhole bands who write songs in a style too dark to be classed "rockabilly". 99% of the time these bands are neither "gothic" nor "rockabilly" but are just given this moniker by music journalists who know next to nothing about either style. I'm using the term here because I DO know what I'm talking about and The Phantom Drifters, well, their songs are just too dark to be rockabilly!

Chris Neapolitan, frontman/guitarist/lyricist par excellence of the now unfortunately defunct Phantom Drifters sent me the unmastered CD of their never to be released full length album. It's a great pity it will never be unleashed upon the general public as it's an absolute gem. However, Mr. Neapolitan is now concentrating on a solo career and seeing as he is responsible for the musical and lyrical dark brilliance of the Phantom Drifters output perhaps he may re-record the songs on this album and release them under his own name. We can but ask him nicely! Or just flat out insist. What Neapolitan has done on the Phantom Drifters album is take the basic elements of the slap bass/Gretsch drenched rockabilly rhythm and instead of singing about the usual yawn inducing rockabilly fare (cars, hair, bopping..zzzzzzzzz) he sings of the darker side of life and heartbreak with lyrics which tell a real story and are delivered with passion, power and sincerity instead of the usual "gimmicks" associated with most rockabilly. Musically the rhythm section makes the listener want to dance but the guitar has that dark "gothabilly" twang and when this is infused with Neapolitan's heart wrenching vocal style and creative lyrical capabilties it also makes the listener want to "listen". His song writing and vocal delivery isn't just something pleasing to the auricular senses but also gets your imagination working with the imagery he conjures up. To elaborate, his songs are brooding tales and his music..the perfect rockabilly-noire
The O'Prez 2007

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