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The Phantom Band/Found, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

On paper the Phantom Band shouldn’t work.

The Glasgow sextet’s unholy stew of Green-era REM guitars, Scots folk balladeering, motorik Krautrock rhythm and Appalachian Americana tugs in so many ways – quite often all in the same song – it should collapse on itself in disaster.

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As their debut album Checkmate Savage and 2010’s follow-up The Wants proved, it makes for thrilling listening.

Live it’s even better, as is the support from Chemikal Underground labelmates FOUND, the Edinburgh trio who, for their third album, Factorycraft, have stripped down, grown some muscles and let rip where loose-fit post Beta Band stylings used to sit. So fiercely focused is their pot-pourri of electronic squiggles and wigged-out references to Vincent Gallo and Johnny Cash, that vocalist Ziggy Campbell not only breaks a string on his own guitar, but also on the borrowed Phantom Band axe that replaces it.

Three of the Phantom Band sport woolly bunnets as they launch into the horror movie chorale of The Howling. Keyboardist Andy Wake especially seems to have channelled the ghost of Tom Weir by way of Brian Eno, while bearded vocalist Rick Anthony looks every inch the twinkly eyed hellfire preacher as he declaims every song like some arcane piece of epic widescreen mythology.

By the time they climax with the rolling thunder of Left Hand Wave, bassist Gerry Hart is standing astride the bass drum and Anthony is climbing up the speaker stack and swinging from the ceiling vents as if they’re monkey bars. The night ends with Crocodile, possibly the only instrumental Paul Hogan tribute to feature duelling melodicas and Giorgio Moroder synth. What else?

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