PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (Buy CDs by this artist)
Phantom Tollbooth EP (Homestead) 1986
One-Way Conversation (Homestead) 1987
Power Toy (Homestead) 1988
Daylight in the Quiet Zone EP (Homestead) 1990
Some of those prone to facile analogies have compared this latter-day power trio led by guitarist Dave Rick (an early member of Yo La Tengo and a frequent participant in Bongwater and B.A.L.L. before joining King Missile fulltime in 1990) to Hüsker Dü and the Minutemen, but New York's Phantom Tollbooth was more like a thrash-inflected version of Fred Frith's Massacre than anything else. (In all fairness, the inclusion of an original song entitled "Flip Your Wig" on Phantom Tollbooth didn't help matters.) Various art-rock influences quick tempo shifts, the occasional jazzy swing and the use of noise as a genuine musical element (rather than a cheap way to telegraph rage or intensity) gave these guys away.
That said, it must be added that Tollbooth's addition of vocals to its heady and complex clamor wasn't always the greatest thing for the music. One-Way Conversation and Power Toy (which has a pretty funny version of Heart's "Barracuda" and two bonus tracks on CD) contain the band's best, most focused work, a striking synthesis of the art-rock that so clearly influenced its song structures and the frenzied attack of hardcore.[Glenn Kenny]
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