Phantom Limb’s new album Pastoral is being released both digitally and on lovely mint green 12″ vinyl via Earth Libraries, and today we’re delighted to bring you the chance to hear the album in full here on Joyzine.
Over the course of its 12 tracks, Pastoral sees the Birmingham, Alabama band blend catchy garage rock and indie pop hooks with warped electronics and found sound samples of preachers and comedians to evoke both the beauty and pains of frontman Andrew Laningham’s rural Deep South youth.
“Pastoral is a meditation on the concepts of home, memory, the South, and paranoia,” he explains. “The songs comprise a loose narrative about coming to terms with the idea of home as imperfect, and kind of sinister. It’s also about the internet being overstimulating to the point of numbness, and figuring out the differences between how you see yourself and how you exist in the real world. I wrote a record about the South, my relationship to it, and its relationship to me.“
One of the ways in which this atmosphere is brought to life is through samples found on tapes he’d discovered in local thrift stores.
“I wanted Pastoral to sound like it was being haunted by old AM radio signals, but I didn’t have much experience recording or have access to professional equipment. What I did have, though, was some microphones, guitar amps, a synthesizer, and a pretty large collection of tapes I found sifting through thrift stores in rural Alabama.
Those tapes ended up defining the sound of Pastoral. All of the instruments on the record (outside of guitars/bass/drums/synths) came from samples of cassette tapes that I found. A lot of the tapes that I was listening to were home recorded by the people that lived near me. I found these types of samples intriguing because they grounded the record in a very specific place: Alabama.”
Another major influence on the record was English theorist, music critic and cultural theorist Mark Fisher and his writing on the power of nostalgia.
“I was reading a lot of Mark Fisher’s writing on Hauntology when making Pastoral. Fisher talks about how nostalgia and the past can impede our ability to conceptualize the future. Unintentionally, I made a record that illustrates that idea and contextualizes it in the South. Most of the songs on Pastoral are about how the past can still haunt the present in one way or another, and the sonic palette of the record is supposed to feel like songs being swallowed by symbols of the past. I think the central idea of the record is this: nostalgia can be comforting, but sometimes you have to let nostalgia go in order to move forward in life.”
Pastoral is available for pre-order now on mint green vinyl via Earth Libraries
Review by Paul Maps