NPR The Austin 100: A SXSW 2012 Mix - Chosen Artist - Recommended
VICE: "An exciting listen" - Recommended
Pop Matters: "The spontaneous approach grants Phantom Limb a comfy simplicity and familiarity."
The Line of Best Fit: "An endearing and relatively winning record."
Perhaps one of the greatest albums in Misra’s canon, Water Liars’ debut was entirely unplanned. Recorded on a whim, with one microphone, the then unnamed rock band – consisting of St. Louis, MO songwriter, vocalist, guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Oxford, MS drummer, producer, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bryant – casually convened to play and record.
Over the course of three days, in the small milltown of Pittsboro, MS, a series of ineffable and magical recordings came together. It was one of those seemingly providential experiences – far too remarkable to be denied. Phantom Limb was born.
Paste, Pop Matters, Daytrotter, KEXP, and more have all hailed Justin Kinkel-Schuster during his tenure fronting independent rock act Theodore. Some time back, Misra planned to work with Theodore and, assuming the songs were mere outtakes under a different moniker, the Water Liars demos initially got pushed to the back burner. Kinkel-Schuster pleasantly persisted, however, insisting the project was vastly different and must be heard.
Upon first listen, it was very clear that something truly remarkable really had occurred in the Phantom Limb sessions. Misra signed the band on the spot. Home to groundbreaking debuts by Shearwater, Great Lake Swimmers, and more, the label is excited to extend this tradition with Water Liars.
After its sludgy intro, album opener “$100” blossoms into a weary, folk-pop gem. “Dog Eaten,” a gorgeous acoustic number highlighting Kinkel-Schuster’s inimitable voice – a trademark that earned him “Best Vocalist” via St. Louis main rag The Riverfront Times – immediately follows. Through its ten-song set, Phantom Limb continues on this unpredictable path – wavering from fast to slow, loud to quiet, but never once losing its magnetism.
Songs like “Whoa Back,” “Rest,” and “Fresh Hell” captivate the listener until “On the Day” – a celestial, melancholic track about one’s deathday – closes the album and an inadvertent field recording is heard in the background. It’s a beautiful, fortuitous ending to Water Liars’ beautiful, fortuitous debut. Enjoy!