Phantom Planet changes style with ease

Published: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 11:07 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 at 11:07 a.m.

Phantom Planet is pretty much known for two things: their drummer and actor Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore," "Slackers," "Spun"), and their 2002 single "California" (the theme song for every 13-year-old girl's favorite show, "The O.C."). With the release of their self-titled third album, the band finds themselves without their two best known characteristics-and surprisingly, the result is not all that bad.

At some point during the recording of the album, Schwartzman abruptly left the band. The remaining members of Phantom Planet were forced to carry on and prove that their moderate mainstream success was not due to the star quality of their former band mate. At the very same time, they were totally remaking their sound pushing aside their early Weezer-like pop rock in favor of their new aggressive grungy sound.

The album's first single, "Big Brat" is a good example of the new Phantom Planet. The fast-paced song features dominating percussion with its attacking drums and bass to go along its scathing lyrics.

On the album, the band does not ditch its melodic background by all means, but reminiscent of the early Ramones albums, the band buries the melody behind their newly adopted quick tempos.

As a whole, "Phantom Planet" is very rough around the edges. The instrumentation has a live feel, and seems sometimes it spins a bit out of control-especially for a band formerly so well-known for their laid back approach. But change can be good, and in the case of Phantom Planet, they seem to be heading in the right direction if this is the musical direction they plan to keep going.

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