This picture disc apparently collects two EPs, a cassette compilation track, and a previously unreleased full-length. That’s twenty-one songs, y’all. I was leery to put this on—discography releases of bands I’m not already fanatical about can be draining—but this one pulls off something pretty cool. Phantom Breakerstarted out as the kind of music I care the least about (under-produced garage rock with drawling, repetitive vocals) but quickly started morphing into something a good deal more interesting… a few different things, actually. “Nostalgia for the Mud,” three tracks deep, is heavy, melodic, and arrestingly off-kilter. There are plenty of other winners to follow, including the ominous “False Sabretooth,” and “Angel’s Dread,” a split-personality jam that oscillates between sing-song alt-pop and raging hardcore. Inevitably, a synth starts making appearances as we draw closer to 1996. Lefty Lucy made the rounds in their time, sharing stages with Bikini Kill and Dead Milkmen, each of whom is a decent point of comparison at some point in the span of this discography. Every other song reminds me of a different band from that terrain between punk and grungy alt-rock: Squirrel Bait, Gauge, later Hüsker Dü, plus some incidental horns and a “Kids in America” cover for good measure. Worth a spin, even for a first-time listener.
–Indiana Laub (Mpls Ltd)