On Phantom Planet’s fourth studio album, Raise The Dead, they make the leap from Caliifornia power pop band to legitimate meaningful indie rock band. Their first studio effort for Fueled By Ramen Records makes it easy to forget that the talented Jason Schwartzmann aka Coconut Records, used to be the backbone of this band on drums. The standout track, Leader, puts you in a melodic rock trance and just kind of almost inspires you to actually follow the leader and join this melancholy cult they speak of. Do The Panic, the first single, is a bit of a throwback mix of Motown sound and mellow Weezer-esque rock. Other tracks, and the album in general, have a Modest Mouse This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About feel especially on I Don’t Mind. The title track, Raise The Dead, is the hardest song on the album and just inspires you (or me at least) to go to the garage and jam with friends. As much as Phantom Planet has been pigeonholed by California, if there is a chance of them breaking out of the shadow of The OC theme song, this is their chance. This album gets a 6 on the Kyle scale of rating or an 8.5 out of 10 if given the chance to do things like a normal human being.
On to more pressing matters.
It’s been approximately 3 weeks since The Dark Knight came out, which has given it ample time to sink it to me. Yet, it hasn’t and won’t. I won’t ever fully be able to appreciate the lengths to which Heath Ledger went to deliver his finest, career defining performance which redefined cinema villain for me. My list of movie icons is short but just added a member to it’s ranks. Atticus Finch and RP McMurphy are forced to make room for the Joker in my book (and also Jim Gordon). The movie itself, an action packed thriller with amazing cinematography was admittedly nowhere near the level of Heath Ledger. In addition to this, the same sentiments are echoed for me with Gary Oldman and his faith inspiring portrayal of Comissioner James Gordon. So within one movie, I gained two movie icons, in addition to two career defining roles. The Joker proves that things aren’t really clear cut and black and white. Some people don’t play by logic and live for the fear they instill in others. On the other side of the spectrum, Jim Gordon proves that it is possible to be a good man in indecent times. Of the plot, I’m not very happy that the Two-Face storyline developed as fast as it did, as I was hoping to believe in Harvey Dent throughout this movie, but it was not meant to be. I’m also worried since the Joker was not resolved. That is not to say the portrayal means any less to me, but is more of a fear that they may try to replace Heath Ledgers Joker or have a poor explanation as to where he has wandered off to, as he is clearly still alive. The supporting cast is as good as any can be, considering you have Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, two of the greatest actors of their generation. Also, Maggie Gylenhaal steps in flawlessly for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. In my mind, Batman has taken a backseat in this film to the evolving story of Jim Gordon, as he remains Gothams true White Knight in my eyes, and the Joker also steals the show, just wanting to watch the world burn. When reflecting, this movie was good, but not great. Great performances were given, but the movie itself is not great. So The Dark Knight gets a 6 on the Kyle Scale Of Rating while Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman give performances deserving of 7’s.