Raise the Dead (Bonus Track Version)
Once upon a time, actor Jason Schwartzman was Phantom Planet’s drummer. Also, once upon a time, Phantom Planet dabbled in various shades of sunny pop rock, edgy garage revival rock, and plain old ‘mersh rock with a slight alt-leaning... but, always, the band had a flair for the ballad, for songs the girls love, and even songs that find their way onto TV shows like “The O.C.” On Raise the Dead, the band’s fourth studio album, the L.A. rockers have found their sound, and it was right there all the time, right under their shag-cut bangs. Choppy, angled rhythms and textured, evocative vocals meet up with pop hooks and rock arrangements both contemporary and vintage; storytelling is flavored with a healthy balance of yearning and caustic worldliness; and an exuberant, almost manic energy manages to flow and breathe at the appropriate moments. The joyful, retro feel of “Leave Yourself for Somebody Else,” the staccato vocals and springy vigor of “Dropped,” and the bah-bah-bah chorus of the re-worked “Do the Panic” should please fans no end, but the real stars — the Byrne-ish “Raise the Dead,” the staggering force of “Geronimo,” and the Brit-inflected “Ship Lost at Sea” — should make non-fans sit up and take notice as well.