LITE
Phantasia


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brahmin Sclorosis USER (13 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2008 | 16 replies | 7,697 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Phantasia is an exciting success that isn’t narcissistically drawn into its own virtuosity, giving the ambiguous 'math-rock' more substance than before

Often musicians who venture into the realm of experimentation fall short of the rudimentary aesthetics of what makes music so appealing to the masses. It seems that the inanely labeled ‘math rock’ bands fall into this unforeseeable trap. The mechanical rhythms, repetitive and syncopated guitar lines, and bass lines often lack much of the excitement that is needed to allow any sort of distinctive and redeemable qualities. To put it straight – it just isn’t fun to listen to. However, lately there have been a few bands emerging from unlikely locales to inject more fun and energy into this process of instrumental experimentation. The UK’s Foals are an example of a band that adds catchiness and an anthemic quality to this brand of rock and roll. Japan’s LITE is the newest of bands to reveal themselves to the world, a band that has been able to combine all of the elements of bands beginning from Minus the Bear and ending at their Japanese counterparts Envy, all without saying even a word. LITE’s Phantasia is an exciting success that isn’t narcissistically drawn into its own virtuosity and is able to inject some new life into a ‘supposed’ genre and giving the ambiguous ‘math-rock’ more substance than before.

Almost immediately as soon as the opening “Ef” heads out of the starting gate with anger and intensity, it is already apparent that LITE is talented in every sense of the word as all of the instruments are all integrated perfectly; finding room to allow every instrument audible in all its glory. Still, LITE is not trying to re-invent the wheel in any sort of way; it is their mission to perfect the style it creates. Every instrument is taken to its edge often creating a frantic and haphazard feeling that makes the music seem sloppy. This should not be mistaken as sloppiness; instead it should be seen as over-the-top virtuosity to the point that the arrangements are on the verge of collapse, in a way that is nothing but violently riveting. Shards of brilliance can be seen on the lengthier “Shinkai” which exhibits a penchant for good song-writing when a single note is strummed to create a brooding atmosphere before it unfolds into a raucous display that is technical, virtuous but also very hard-hitting. The following “Black and White” shifts tempos quickly from a frantic rhythm to a slow and meditative one. At points the band is able to sound like more languid and contemplative acts and this is an added strength that adds to the myriad of ideas on Phantasia. The aforementioned over-the-top virtuosity is also ambivalent to the success of Phantasia as an overall record; though it showcases the band’s impressive musicianship, it also enters the territory of becoming masturbatory in its execution. These moments become dizzying to the listener to the point where it almost becomes cacophony and unnecessary.

Luckily, this is more of the exception rather than the rule, as stated above. Ultimately, the key factor to Phantasia’s outstanding success is its ability to mend the catharsis of post-rock, a dancy and fun quality of other bands, and the skill and virtuosity of math-rock, and to make it cohesive and fresh all the same. The title track is a perfect dance tune that could easily become a crowd pleaser. The aptly titled “Interlude” is a beautiful bridge that is serene and fits its purpose. The highlight track here is “Solitude” that perfectly encapsulates LITE’s numerous influences that are permeated throughout Phantasia. The catharsis is built slowly, with restraint as the LITE suddenly rushes out of the gate with skilful instrumentation that is wonderfully arranged and calculated, without seeming that way. Often throughout Phantasia the music floats to a level of power where the arrangements are pleading for some sort of vocalization or hook to take them to the next level. The voiceless nature of Phantasia is a detrimental factor in the record’s ability to be poignant in the minds of the listener.

The arguments made against Phantasia may also be their distinctive quality, in that it subversively negates these very conventions and for that it is an achievement. I am sure that LITE are more than happy than leaving these questions unanswered. So, in vain, I will be left provide my own answers. Perhaps the band eschews the use of vocals to create a universal quality not available in most instrumental records? Perhaps the arrangements are over-the-top because their inherent effect is there? Ah well, it is difficult to answer these subjective questions, so it is better to just enjoy Phantasia for what it is. And what the record is just an excellent instrumental record that is able to be distinctive in its own way; no questions asked.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Serpento
August 3rd 2008


2351 Comments


inb4plagiarismz

pos'd, gonna check this out. Been trying to get into math rock lately.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 3rd 2008


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well, it's not my review and I'm one of the few to have written one. Nice job, no plagiarizing to be found.

SpinLightTwo
August 3rd 2008


1041 Comments


I'm glad someone reviewed this because I didn't feel I was up to it.

good review.

SynGates
August 3rd 2008


2467 Comments


Great review, voted. This sounds great, I'll definitely get this.

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 3rd 2008


3742 Comments


Good review, I gotta check this out.

SynGates
August 3rd 2008


2467 Comments


wow I love Ghost Dance already

HighandDriving
August 4th 2008


3288 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Check out the music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM7oioKt7XE

I've been following this band since Fimlets and this was such a huge step up.

Also some of the best production present on a math-rock album

Zebra
Moderator
October 19th 2008


2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

im surprised this hasn't gotten much attention around here. every song is great and the production is fantastic.

Fina1e
December 22nd 2008


123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Most underrated album of 2008, more people should listen to this.

Upsidedown_and_Sideways
January 17th 2009


262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This album is fantastic.

Prophet178
November 15th 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent album.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2009


17212 Comments


need to listen to this more

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

alachlahol
April 26th 2011


7489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bumping in honor of math rock day

alachlahol
April 26th 2011


7489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this band crushes all yr tiny dicks into oblivion

Mendross
September 10th 2013


389 Comments


The beginning of Ef sounds so much like The Adventures of Allan Gordon by TFOT

Digging: Godflesh - Pure

Ecnalzen
April 24th 2014


6530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is pretty glorious so far.



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