Album artwork by Sandra Seminara and Christopher Jay
Last year, the sprawling artist collective Phantom Posse put out a wonderful album called Home, their third collaboration, which caught the wider world's attention in part because the collective featured one Makonnen Sheran, then coasting on his newfound fame as the "Tuesday" guy. It may go down in history as the only OVO-adjacent album to have a release show at Brooklyn DIY venue Silent Barn. That album was pleasant listening, and it felt like what it advertised itself as, which is to say a congenial meeting of minds jamming out and making an album that was as satisfying for them to put together as it was to listen to.
Be True, the follow-up, which Noisey is premiering below, still has the drifting, dreamy sound of its predecessor, but it is instantly recognizable as a more complete and immersive work, pulling away from the bedroom recording aesthetic of Home. Lush and polished, Be True feels like Phantom Posse coming into their own as an actual band. It pulls in ambient guitar and carefully textured vocals, hitting a sweet spot between something like a guitar-driven Animal Collective, The Clientele, and M83. Highlights include the beautifully searing guitar meditation of "Holding the Light," featuring Renee Anderson's spectral vocals, and Makonnen's downbeat ode to mismatched feelings on "Feel the Same." Be True, which the group bills as a "travel diary passed around," is a journey unto itself.
"Phantom Posse's name comes from back when I was first releasing music as Phantom Power," writes Eric Littmann, the de facto organizer of the group. "At that time, Phantom Power was essentially a personal audio journal—I released EPs monthly that reflected whatever curiosity or personal struggle I was facing at that time. I started Phantom Posse as a way to highlight my friends' talents and unique voices through a similar lens. Be True considers the individual experience in the setting of the collective—how despite everything that influences and shapes who you are, it is essential to be true to whatever identity strikes you."
Phantom Posse is:
Eric Littmann a.k.a. Steve Sobs/Phantom Power
Chris Masullo a.k.a. Nicholas Nicholas
Renee Anderson a.k.a. Private Life
Cale Israel a.k.a. Fannybag
Katie Pierce a.k.a. Pierced
Makonnen Sheran a.k.a. ILoveMakonnen
Thomas Beddoe a.k.a. Cheetah Lamp
Jay Kineke a.k.a. Northeast Kingdom/Moonlight Mischief Club
Jake Falby, member of Mutual Benefit
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