Considering it’s been four years since Phantom Planet last released a studio album, titling its new record “Raise the Dead,” due April 15 on Fueled By Ramen, is apropos.
“It seems like every record is sort of a new beginning for us,” Phantom Planet singer Alex Greenwald tells Billboard.com “This one took embarrassingly about four years from start to finish. But with a new label, which we’re really excited about it, it’s sort of a new path for us.”
Even with a change in lineup (original guitarist Jacques Brautbar left the band after the release of 2004’s self-titled effort) and labels (the band was dropped from Epic), Greenwald said Phantom Planet never considered breaking up. In fact, the quartet remained busy, going on tour with ’60s band the Zombies and Sting, as well as working on material that would become “Raise the Dead.”
“We’re always together, but I think what makes this band unique is we’re constantly questioning the future for the band,” Greenwald says. “I don’t say that in a hopeless way, but all of us are constantly asking why are we in the band, is it meaningful to us? And obviously, this record answered those questions we asked.”
Inspired by the music of cult leaders such as Charles Manson, Jim Jones and David Koresh, “Raise the Dead” was written and recorded over an 18-month period, beginning in late 2006.
“A lot of the new record has a sense of hopefulness with something sinister behind it,” Greenwald says. “For us, it’s experimental. Whether it’s the title track or ‘Geronimo’ or ‘Do the Panic’ or ‘Confess,’ you sort of see us at our most dynamic we’ve ever been. The lows are really low and the highs are really high.”
Greenwald says he expects the up-tempo “Do the Panic” to be the first single, with a possible early April release. The Los Angeles-based group is also taking part in the upcoming Honda Civic Tour, which features Panic at the Disco, Motion City Soundtrack and the Hush Sound. The bill kicks off April 10 in San Francisco.
“For the time being, what the band and the record need is constant touring, no matter how you do it as a headliner or opener,” Greenwald says. “So this tour came up through Panic (at the Disco), which is now our labelmate.” He adds, “Also any tour we’re offered, we usually take.”