Madelyn Boudreaux (SLUG Magazine)
The Rose Phantom = Depeche Mode + HIM x Alphaville
The latest release by Salt Lake’s own Ted Newsom (Sleep Slid iN, Melodramus, revideolized), Abandon represents a new direction as Newsom turned his back on his other projects to focus two years’ time on The Rose Phantom persona and work. Marrying lush dramatics and intricate electronica, the album’s 10 tracks of careful and succinct industrial-tinged darkwave would not be out of place in a goth club or in an alternative radio station’s rotation. The bitter and beautiful opener, “All I Want,” is a goth-rock slow burner, while “Here It Is” could be a new Duran Duran/Depeche Mode collaboration. Samples and tape loops play a role, but are mysterious and invocative, never annoying or repetitive. My favorite track, “Into the Day,” recalls A-Ha and Clan of Xymox equally—an interesting melding. At times, Newsom stretches his voice a little too far at the low registers, but his vocals are clear and gorgeous, emotional and spacious. Abandon is a beautiful work, and hopefully a promise of more to come. Find The Rose Phantom online at therosephantom.com.
You can't stay impartial to GREATNESS!
Let me start off by saying that while we've yet to meet, I know The Rose Phantom and truly enjoyed his music. That said, I've also watched the maturity of an artist grow immensely. I truly LOVED his last release (with Whitney Willow) "The Open Diary" under the Sleep Slid In moniker. "Abandon", however, is one of those releases where everyone who has followed the career of an artist will most likely agree that it is their best work - despite how much you might love all the other stuff.
Unlike other artists who "sell out" for mass appeal and money, TRP has put over 2 years of his life and emotions into this release. I can hear various influences (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Alphaville, David Sylvian and even U2) for the sound of this release, and yet, the sound is all TRP and what an awesome sound it is! TRP wanted to create something his fans would recognize as his signature sound and Abandonthis release is most definitely it.
While I do enjoy every song on this CD, the two songs I like the most are track 5 (Destiny Wants My Heart) and track 10 (It's Over Now). I was asked by a friend, whom I'd recommended this CD to, if I had a least favorite track and truth be told, that would be track 9 (Until). While I do like the song a lot the opening three minutes is rather repetitive, and while I get what TRP was doing in recording it that way, I think shaving off even two minutes worth could've have the same impact on the listener.
I thought for a long while on how to state what I felt about Abandon and remain impartial to the artist and his previous releases. Yet, as my title line states: "You can't stay impartial to GREATNESS!" and that's the truth. As someone with over 5,000 REAL CD's, I believe I know decent, very good and excellent music when I hear it. From my first listen of Abandon to now (15 full listens on), I've felt this is an excellent release. I would classify it darkwave / industrial, but that doesn't mean it's inaccessible for music fans who are fans of other genres, as this album rocks!
Personally, I wish TRP would release an album of instrumental versions of these songs, as this could be awesome ambient darkwave. While I love his voice and vocal stylings, at heart he's an intense keyboardist and master of his craft. Of course, a remix single or two done by other musicians who are fans would be great, too!
Look, you can spend $9.99 - $10.99 on a lot of things, but unlike smokes or booze which will be gone, this CD will remain and bring constant joy to your ears! What are you waiting for? Buy this now and get in the ground floor of greatness and say you knew The Rose Phantom before everyone else jumped on board "just to seem cool". The Earth has music for those who are willing NOT to limit themselves to a specific genre and open their minds to the artistry that another person with talent who wants to welcome you to their landscape of dreams, thoughts and emotions!
Erika (Gothic Beauty Magazine)
10 tracks, 52 minutes. Released December 21, 2012.
Do yourself a favor: download or stream the first track from this album, “All I Want”.
Turn it up to a ridiculous level so that all other sound disappears, close your eyes,
and just listen. You’re welcome.
Abandon is a very well-produced album, lovingly recorded over seven months, that
delivers a soundscape on every track. It is smartly written, and outstandingly
performed on every level. All the more impressive given that the vast bulk of the
work (included all sound recordings, photography, and most mixing) was done by
one person, Ted Newsom. He is a fantastic vocal presence with an impressive
range, but is often placed further back in the sound mix to make room for the wall of
sound that comprises each new song.
This album is all things goth. It mixes love and despair with elegance and maturity
to create a work of art that is as painful as it is beautiful. It is nimble enough to
account for gothic musical history and uses industrial sounds while morphing into
new wave in the next track, before pulling back into ambient. This album is so
versatile, I’ve had it in my player for three solid months and I don’t feel that I’m
done listening to it.
If you’re a DJ, download “New Dreams”. Other notable tracks: “Destiny Wants my
Heart”, and “Until”.
AWESOME DARK WAVE ROCK CROSSED WITH AN INDUSTRIAL EDGE
Abandon, the new album by The Rose Phantom, is dark wave crossed with pop rock, with an industrial edge. I found it to be a fascinating exploration of the sound The Rose Phantom has been exploring as a musician and singer since 2003 when this journey began. I’ve enjoyed all his electronic albums under the “revideolized” name and the one album under the “Sleep Slid’iN” moniker, but this one is his best overall.
It’s the first album where he worked with a producer, the awesome “Dangerous” Dane Morrow, and the album has some incredible tracks created from this winning collaboration. The vocals are a cross between the deep voiced Peter Murphy of Bauhaus fame, Ronny Moorings of Clan of Xymox, a few echoes of when U2’s Bono goes falsetto, and some Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode.
The opening song, “All I Want” is a deliberate plea for love framed in a dark wave rock song. It’s a fitting opening to the album, and made me think of what all of us want on some level. To be loved. It’s not my favorite track of the album, but a good opening.
Track two, “Here It Is” has a Depeche Mode feel (similar to the Songs of Faith and Devotion album), with a relentless and catchy baseline, intense singing, and nothing is held back. I liked it a lot.
Track three, “The River Runs Wild Today” is a more of a pop song, treading on the beauty of the desert in the dark of night when the search for light is elusive and treacherous.
Track four, “Emotional Closet” is a dark rock song about love and craving. Vampires and their followers will dig this one.
Track five, “Destiny Wants My Heart” is a rich, epic, and sprawling song full of longing and desire that soars to the highest levels both musically and vocally. The Rose Phantom’s singing hits its peak here. My favorite song of the album. The music video for this song is pretty awesome as well.
Track six, “New Dreams” is a driving, beat heavy track, blending electronica and rock elements to a fevered pitch of coolness.
Track seven, “Into The Day” is a lyric heavy pop rock song, and I imagine with time this one could grow on me more.
Track eight, “Once In A While” has some beautiful electronic parts and pop goodness.
Track nine, “Until” is one of my favorite tracks. It’s more of an experimental, ambient loop of dark electronic lament. It sounds like the brilliant electronic composer Robert Rich put lyrics to one of his songs. The vocals and music are so great on this one and build up to such a satisfying climax.
Track ten, “It’s Over Now” puts a hard edge to the end of the album, which explored so many different ideas and sounds. I connected with most of the songs, and was very impressed with what The Rose Phantom accomplished on his first true album.
Senseitional (Reviews Editor, I Am Entertainment)
The Rose Phantom has created one of the most unique releases of 2012
This isn't Disney pop...so, Beliebers can exit now. Hailing from the great Salt Lake City in
Utah, The Rose Phantom (TRP) drop kicks corny Top 40 pop music in the face with his
latest 10 song release, Abandon. TRP permeates the weak exoskeleton of today's
commercial pop music and scrambles the yoke at its core. By marrying a darker sounding
vintage 80's pop bed with strong rock vocals, The Rose Phantom has created one of the
most unique releases of 2012.
As TRP kicks off Abandon, we are immediately introduced to his dark pop-rock sound in
the track, All I Want. A downtempo drum and piano driven song that sets the
tone for the rest of Abandon, All I Want is a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated
fits of passion meant to excite the listener's emotions. While it's not a commercial radio
hit, this song could command the attention of those who enjoyed music by artists like The
Human League and David Bowie.
Although David Bowie was mentioned, as you start to delve further into Abandon, you
realize that The Rose Phantom is no crossover pop artist. Songs like "Emotional Closet",
"Destiny Wants My Heart", and "Into The Day" will slap euphoric pop fans back into
reality. If Abandon were a movie it would be best described as a tough love story whose
characters are super-emotional, and growing bored with the world around them.
For me, it was hard to imagine the words "dark" and "pop" mixed together, because pop
music is primarily viewed as something you listen to when you're in an upbeat mood. So,
trying to imagine TRP in a Justin Bieber/Will.I.Am. pop world is like trying to imagine Darth
Vader attending a meeting at the Lollipop Guild; there's bound to be carnage left behind
when Vader exits the building. So, if you're looking for something other than teenage love
songs set to disco music, then check out Abandon today!
If I was not hearing it, I would search to
Contemporary sounds and eternal lyrics. Renewal of personality on the artistic point of view. Emerging of one voice. Music runs alone in the ear of the listener, (just) evocating some great musical moments of specific artists (« Here it is » is in some aspects similar to « Ultra » ambiance), using (not abusing) of styles trick (« Destiny wants my heart » exploits background voices like Biosphere’s « Substrata »). Still images. These ones show familiar spaces of the artist (closed rooms and wild nature), known objects (Jack-o-Lantern), atmospheric tapestries (the « aluminum wall »). It is because of the presence of that personal universe that the album of the Rose Phantom is not a copy-paste nor ’80 new wave neither ’90 ambient. Actually there is a person behind the curtain. It was already the same when albums were released under the Revideolized alias, nevertheless a step is done in a more actual musical word. The main thread seems to me journey in the insider time, which is the essence of poetry, with the dark note indispensable to loon in self. And the conclusion is that "Abandon" is a very personal and poetic album.
Taking a cue from the New Romantic movement of the early 80s, The Rose Phantom has released an incredibly well produced set of strong, melodic songs. Understanding that synthetic backdrops can only succeed if the listener has a hook to hang their proverbial hats on, each selection is carefully arranged for maximum sonic impact. Mining ground similar to that of early Gary Numan, Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode, technology is nicely bevelled with raw human emotion. It must be stressed that only the positive characteristics of the aforementioned artists are present, with themes and lyrical subject matter belonging solely to the artist.
Epic soundscapes underpin every cut on Abandon. Great care is taken to ensure that individual instruments have a definitive presence in the mix, with every note placed perfectly. The vocals are not buried in pitch correction software, but instead are allowed to breathe, which is a plus for a contemporary recording. It is an expressive voice that is on display here, lending power to every track. Highlights abound: "Here it Is", "New Dreams" and the brilliant opener, "All I Want", which is built on a foundation of ominous, well deployed keys and a haunting chorus. Gripping listening, though don't let that stop you from enjoying the rest. There is an added bonus of subliminal layers of sound throughout the disc. Whispered words and interesting instrumental passages designed to catch your attention on the first pass only to send your brain back to spin the songs again. Guaranteed that you will, as there is quite a bit to take in.
Equating this record with a color or mood, I would point to the shade of a sky at dusk as nocturnal urges slowly lead the senses down a new path, destination to be determined. There are definite rewards in staying the course.
Commitment to uniformity in style and execution is commendable, without detours into a musical version of multiple personality disorder. The Rose Phantom owns their vision, delivering a consistent and satisfying song cycle.
Overall the production is immaculate, perfectly complementing the writing which is bolstered by strong performances on all counts. For those of you out there who still like good melodies, as opposed to "noises" haphazardly dropped on top of "beats", you will really enjoy Abandon. All of the pop sensibilities that drove the best electronic music of a bygone era married to modern technology. Produced and engineered by "Danegerous" Dane Morrow and The Rose Phantom, the disc was mastered by Aidan Foley at Masterlabs (U2, Foo Fighters, Dead Can Dance).