EX-OPTIMISTS, THE: Phantom Freight: LP

I don’t know if the band planned it this way, but the first seven or so minutes of the first side of this LP sound like an audio interpretation of the cover art, like the listener is being submerged into an intense-sounding ‘70s science fiction movie in a futuristic world. Once the song really gets going though, it seamlessly bursts into a swirl of guitar like the best Swervedriver-influenced noisy indie rock song you’ve ever heard. Taking up the entire A-side, I was shocked to see how fast fifteen minutes had passed and I already needed to flip the record. The B-side has shorter, more traditional offerings that can hold their own with any other guitar-centric indie rock going on right now. After opening with a slightly twangy song reminiscent of something from Athens, Ga. in the ‘80s, there are even more songs that mix the swooping, catchy, and fuzzed-out guitar lines of the abovementioned Swervedriver with the songwriting of Hüsker Dü, as well as a couple other ‘90s-influenced alternative rock gems and a true-to-form cover song from a perennial ‘90s favorite. I can really hear the Bob Mould influence in a song like “Whoop Stop,” one of the many favorites of mine on the record. But truthfully, it’s impossible to even select favorite songs on a record when you really like them all. Phantom Freight is a great record from start to finish, doing its part to bring back the loud, hooky guitars that were prevalent in ‘90s indie scene partnered with overall great songwriting—something that is often missing from the arsenal of many contemporary indie rock bands. This LP receives my highest recommendation, as I really cannot stop listening to it. 

 –Mark Twistworthy (Sinkhole Texas, sinkholetexas.bandcamp.com)