With an act as stylistically restive as The Phantom Band, you'd expect at least some of their number to harbour a renegade alter-ego or two. In the case of their vocalist-in-chief Rick Anthony, his 'Rick Redbeard' doppelgänger has been hiding in plain sight since The Phantom Band's critically feted debut in 2009, with some material on 'No Selfish Heart' pre-dating 'Checkmate Savage' by as much as five years.
Originally conceived as an outlet for Anthony's quieter, more introspective material, it's fair to say that Redbeard's 'songbook' has outgrown its brief; developing into much, much more than a dead letter office for The Phantom Band. One of the many qualities of Rick's material is how timeless it manages to sound: songs feel instantly recognisable, shot through with a warmth and intimacy that's impossible to contrive. We'll let the man himself elaborate:
"I've always been attracted to comforting music; for me, Leonard Cohen's music is never depressing, it's soothing. I want people to hear my songs in the same way I've heard certain music over the years: like kind words from an old friend."
Mission accomplished Mr Redbeard, mission acomplished...