EP Review: Ghost – “If You Have Ghost”
There are those who grow up wannabe rockstars, strumming air guitar on tennis rackets. There are those who sing into hairbrushes eager for their fifteen seconds of X-Factor fame. And then there are those who, not content with making rawkus noises, feel a calling for fancy-dress and their mother’s make-up bag. Such a band, are Ghost.
Here’s a curiosity, masquerade bands seldom seem to share much in the way of musical DNA. Okay sure, rock and metal has seen its fair share of costumed heroes, but compare the contrasting sounds of Slipknot, Lordi, Manowar, KISS, Devo and erm… The Wombles. It can be argued all are easily distinguishable, unlike say the swath of late 80s hairbands or early 00s pop-punk pustrels.
There is a point here, and it’s this – the output of Ghost’s amplifiers is unlikely to match up with your expectations. Unless of course you’ve heard this band before, in which case you’ve rendered this entire paragraph redundant. Well done you, arsehole.
Filed most commonly under Doom or Heavy metal, such labels are misleading when applied to Ghost. The majority of this covers EP has an art-rock, mildly indie quality to it, only occasionally emerging as anything heavier.
In order to recognise that Ghost have intentions to do more than simply ‘bring the thunder’, we only have to look at the eclectic source material, with tracks covered here including works by ABBA, Army of Lovers and Depeche Mode. If a hint of black magic is present, it’s in Ghost’s ability to revamp the work of others into their own signature sound. Present throughout this record is an otherworldly quality, complete with gentle harmonies that create a seductive, warped, almost romantic tone.
By virtue of the adoption of satanic lyrics, ghoulish stage wear and holding up a black mirror to the Catholic church, Ghost seem to have landed themselves in heavier, grubbier circles than befits their sound. The result could be a lack of appeal for noise-mongrels, tattooed beat messiahs and hardcore kids, but if your ears are open to something akin to twisted, Swedish folk-rock, this may be worth a punt. Ghost are equal parts charming and creepy, and quite possibly brilliant.