Album Review - 'Lotus Eaters' by Phosphene
Thoughtful, poetic shoegaze-pop for the evening-time, this ear candy is both personal and political.
TL;DR: Favorite track: "The Wave" Least favorite track: none
"Incinerate" Okay, first track on the album and I’m already thinking we’re off to a great start. This sounds like if Best Coast and Phantogram had a baby and raised it to love shoegaze. I’m really liking the drums, and we’ve got some captivating, poetic lyrics…”Peace is not your hollow sound/I left that on the floor/At the bottom…As if I’d like to be a curtain on your stage/To be bound in a corset/Just a wife with a cleft…And I don’t mind peeling back that dirty rind/getting closer to a prime/That reveals a moon inside.” This is making me excited to listen to the rest of the album. I’m listening at night, the perfect time for this stuff. This is night music for sure. "Spiral" Again, right off the bat, I love the way whoever mastered this mixed the drums. I like how the drums are kind of loud…and did I mention yet that I love this vocalist? The guitars are reminding me a bit of Diiv here. I’m thinking of Silversun Pickups a bit too. The bass is…not so much quiet, but maybe a bit drowned out, but I barely care against the backdrop of these beautiful vocals, guitar, and drums. This stuff is making me excited. This is making me miss shows! Why do I have the feeling this band is amazing live? The lyrics are sweet too; I interpret them as being about finding a respite in your lover in a chaotic world. That makes sense considering their description of the album: “The writing and recording process of this album took place preceding and following the 2016 election, when extremism and bigotry prevailed across the United States and the world at large.” I think a lot of people can relate to finding that one person/place to go to in trying times. "Frames" Finally midway through this song I get my hunger for a focus on bass fulfilled! I’m excited. Again, more amazingly beautiful vocals and drums and a crystal clear mix, no surprise there at this point. "Seven Ways" I loved all the things I loved about the previous tracks, as well as again the lyrics…first of all, “You are a fire/masked in the light.” This actually made me stop and think for a second before realizing that was a brilliant analogy. And then we also have “You will not wrap me like a spider/In a bridal gown.” Now there’s some imagery! "The Body" Oh yeah, here we have some BASS! Also liked the guitar solo in the middle; that caught me off guard. Trying to decode the lyrics is driving me crazy! They’re very abstract, but they are beautiful. "Carousel" Again here, we have some great imagery…’Eating cake on a carousel/Talking shit with animals.’ The meaning of the song is clarified in the hook: ‘Everyone gets lost in their own power.’ The surrounding lyrics emphasize that the damage done by a hunger for power can sometimes be (or at least feel) irreversible. An emotional track. "Cocoon" This is a really original song. When I heard the beginning part of the lyrics I thought “oh, how nice, it’s about how love changes you.” But then I realized there was more to it too; it’s about how we all influence each other, sometimes positively, but sometimes for the worse. ‘Quietly kept in the dark/Like an unhatched brood’ is one of the most evocative lyrics of the album. "Incandescent Plumes" Enjoying these drums once again. Favorite lyrics from this track: “I know/I let you out of that cell/Now, my dear/Tear my out of myself.” "The Wave" Love the abrupt start of the song, straight into the vocals. It’s really attention-grabbing. The bass line cleverly follows the tune of the lyrics and is nice and loud. And as soon as the chorus starts, I immediately realize this is my favorite song on the album, at least so far. What a great chorus! It’s really catchy. I love the way this song is unpredictable and keeps me guessing like a book with a plot twist. I think this song is probably about escapism, which makes sense in light of another excerpt from the band’s description of the album: “The title Lotus Eaters is loosely derived from Greek mythology, which describes a person in a peaceful but apathetic haze from continually eating lotus fruit. A similar, escapist notion was pervasive across the U.S. [during the time we were writing this album], and it certainly impacted each of us personally.” "Skyscraper Shade" This song also kind of has a plot twist. It starts out seeming like it’s going to be a song about getting annoyed with the city/crowds/tweens, and even then, I was like “yep, I can get down with that.” But then they turn it around and say: “But if you can find something new/Inside a nightclub VR room/Just feel blessed to be one of the few/Who burn their cash on superfoods.” In other words, appreciate what you do have and don’t just focus on what you would change, because someone else in the world would give anything to be you.