“Low-lit music, a voice to still your beating heart, a torched romantic soul, smoke and mirrors”
â€¦So says the press release for Canadian born songstress Elsie Martinsâ€™ Phantom. Boasting a voice that makes me think PJ Harvey at her most seductive, and wearing the longest false eye lashes this side of the 60â€™s, Phantom make an interesting, brooding sound.
Martins (vocals/guitar/organ) is joined by Jonny Martin (bass/e bow), Stefania Manso (violin/viola/more organ) and Steve Lewins (drums/guitar/glockanspeil/melodica), aiding and abetting to bring to life gorgeous pop-noir, sounding like The Velvet Underground whilst also sounding contemporary.
On â€˜Great Pretenderâ€™, Elsie Martins bemoans the dark side of life, of having to lie, steal and cheat to get where she wants to be, warning us all that she is “â€¦the great pretenderâ€¦”, breathing and sighing in such a way that you probably wouldnâ€™t notice if she was nicking your wallet at the same time.
Now based in London, Phantom have appeared on BBC Radioâ€™s Tom Robinson Show as well as performing an acoustic set for Canadaâ€™s MusiquePlus TV channel.
The first track on their MySpace page, â€˜Broken Bonesâ€™, could easily be the soundtrack to any American private-eye movie, all shimmering guitars and sliding strings, whilst Martins croons over the top “â€¦see these hips / hear these lips / theyâ€™ll never be yoursâ€¦”
Having said that, Martins has not counted on the media’s penchant for such dramatic, understated scores (see Glasvegas and The Last Shadow Puppets for examples). I donâ€™t expect it to be long before we are hearing a lot more of this ethereal Phantom.