Darker Planet emerges
with new self-titled LP
The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 7
'Liberty' Moore of the same mush
By Vanessa Miller
Daily Arts Writer
By Alex Wosky
Daily Arts Writer
Most widely known for their former drum-
mer, actor Jason Schwartzman ("Rushmore"),
who parted ways with the band midway
through its latest record-
ing to pursue acting full
time, Phantom Planet has
always been plagued by
the struggle of identify-
ing themselves in the
crowd. This makes their
latest release, Phantom
Pinkerton. Phantom Planet hearkens and their
The album centers itself around singer Alex
Greenwald's painful, biting lyricism and explo-
sive delivery. Formerly, Greenwald was a
soothing, angelic vocalist; now, he's ditched the
angels for an angst-ridden, cathartic growl that
soars over tracks with the tenacity of a Harrier
jet. He nervously twitches and forces you to
fixate on his bloodshot eyes and listen while he
waxes intellectual on the demons of society
and the sordid nature of his past relationships.
The most noticeable change they make,
however, is musically. After finding inspiration
in a Daft Punk song title, "Harder, Better,
Faster, Stronger," the band took a reformed atti-
tude into their recording session. As a result,
they created their most heterogeneous record
ever, which is surprising.
Their last record, The Guest, was filled
with airy, California dream-pop and a radio-
friendly hue, including the theme to the hit
FOX drama, "The O.C." Now, Phantom Plan-
Planet, seem more like a resuscitation than a
Instantaneously noticeable is a distraught,
run-down perspective, previously concealed on
any Phantom Planet effort. The dark, aggres-
sive album immediately forges relations to
such classics as Weezer's bleak, emotive
et is a sharp, abrasive rock band with a
The stripped-down, newly distorted Phan-
tom Planet draws on influences ranging from
the Clash to My Bloody Valentine, dropping
the frayed and misused acoustic guitars, and as
a result, tunes out their first two albums. From
the reggae-fused "Badd Business" and "The
Happy Ending," to the wall-of-drone "You're
Not Welcome," Planet emerges rejuvenated.
They've become a clearly defined juggernaut
in their own right and not just another throw-
away pop-rock band, lost in a sea of ambiguity.
"Chasing Liberty" is a film that has to be
embraced for what it is - 90 minutes of a sec-
ond-string pop star experiencing unlikely
teenage drama and uneventful first love. A dis-
mal remake of the classic film "Roman Holi-
day," "Liberty" features
Mandy Moore as Anna, the
president's daughter, who Chasing
craves freedom from the Liberty
ever-watchful eye of the At Showcase and
Secret Service. Madstone
The presidential family Warner Bros.
goes to Prague, allowing
Anna to commence her years of teenage rebel-
lion by escaping her presidential guardians.
As Anna flees, she meets a sexy mysterious
Englishman, Ben (Matthew Goode), who
escorts her around Europe disguised as a Secret
Service agent. While Ben chases Anna through
the gorgeous environs of Prague, Venice and
Austria, the two find themselves coping with
their growing attraction for one another and
Anna's odd desire to remove her clothes.
Moore plays the same character in "Liberty"
that she has in all her films - a girl wronged
by a man in her life, oblivious to her beauty
and susceptible to falling into sappy romances.
Goode contrasts the perkiness of Moore as a
sarcastic, rough and tumble Brit whose per-
formance resists the reality of this teen-pop
film by becoming, in some respects, its
The most savory aspect of this film is a bick-
ering pair of Secret Service agents, played by
Jeremy Piven ("Old School") and Annabella
Sciorra ("The Sopranos"), whose adventures in
trying to follow Anna cause them to fall in love,
making for a much more climactic and humor-
ous romance than that in the limelight.
"Chasing Liberty" will be quickly forgotten
by many but will rest comfortably in the hearts
of pre-teens everywhere, whose squeals of
excitement echoed throughout the theater as
their icon, Moore, leaned in for a kiss. Moore
should consider her title role a blessing, espe-
cially considering the other pop stars who could
have easily filled the position.
the michigan daily
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