Phantogram Slow Things Down On “Cruel World”

Carl Williott | August 17, 2016 2:08 pm

Phantogram have had a strange trajectory. They were making murky synth-pop before that sort of thing became a cliche, but for whatever reason never broke out beyond the “mid-size font on the festival poster” level during that time. Then they teamed up with Big Boi for Big Grams, and had that project come a couple years earlier, it may have registered as more than just some curio in both act’s catalogs. And now they’re back with new album Three (out September 16), and the first two tracks suggest they’re simultaneously going more pop and more aggressive.

New song “Cruel World” slows things down, but continues along that path. It’s half piano ballad, half hip hop-inflected gloom, with Sarah Barthel giving one of her more powerful vocal takes.

Hear it below.