Phantom Handshakes are the New York-duo of Matt Sklar (Exiles) and Federica Tassano (Sooner, Mônetre), a band who have pretty much only existed in the age of social distancing. Last year saw the band release their debut album, Be Estranged, recorded in their respective homes in Brooklyn and Manhattan at the end of Spring 2020. The album was released by Slovakian cassette-label Z Tapes, who will also release their second offering, No More Summer Songs, recorded in the same manner as their debut, and due out in April. Ahead of that release, today Phantom Handshakes are sharing the first single from the album, No Better Plan
Discussing the inspiration behind the track, the band have suggested it, “is about the consequences of pleasing someone else’s wishes at the expense of following your own dreams”. Listening to the song, it’s one of those tracks that seems to instantly tap into a rich vein of wistful melancholy; at least partly because of the stunning tone of Federica’s voice, liberally doused in reverb, even a chorus consisting of just “na,na,na”‘s seems to glisten with an implicit sadness.
Musically, Phantom Handshakes’ sound seems to exist in-between worlds, the guitars have a certain-surf quality, while there are clear nods to the production of early-90’s shoegaze and the catchy unforget-ability of indie-pop. Through this heady mixture of influences, they seem to mark a path of their own, while there’s touchstones to the likes of Chorusgirl or Hazel English, ultimately Phantom Handshakes are plotting their own course, and sounding increasingly compelling doing it.