Review of Phantom Limb's self-titled album
Based in Bristol, Phantom limb are a 5-piece band that have individually worked with a wide range of artists, including fellow Bristol musicians Ronnie Size and the legendary Massive Attack. Oddly, they have been supporting Will Young but have also proved to be a success at festivals either side of the Atlantic. Certainly a band going places.
They are also fortunate enough to be fronted with the incredibly soothing vocals of Yolanda Quartey. There's a large slice of soul to her voice as well as an obvious degree of control, such combinations are perfectly presented on the delicate Don't Say a Word. No obvious attempt at originality is brought to the table in terms of song writing or vocal style but its classic formulas work in a tried and tested manner.
You get the impression that Yolanda Quartey would be providing backing vocals for some big name mainstream singer if she wasn't in the band, however with Phantom Limb she seems to be in the perfect surroundings. This is due to the numerous styles of music on show during Phantom Limb allowing her to display her range.
With blues (My love has gone), stripped down acoustic numbers (Withering bones), gospel and even country providing an eclectic style of song writing, Phantom Limb isn't and album that will find itself pigeon holed into a category anytime soon. But if its soul you're looking for then look no further than final track The hard way with its beautiful piano solos fused perfectly with acoustic guitars and organs to set up a picturesque back drop for Quarteys exceptional vocal.
As a whole, the album doesn't really have a bad track, no blotches on the copy book are anywhere to be seen. Many artist try to write an album in this mould and fail miserably as they only achieve mediocrity in playing it safe. But the sextet of Phantom Limb are a group of very talented musicians capable of tapping into numerous musical avenues and pulling them off with aplomb.