EP Review: Ghost – “Popestar”
With last year’s Meliora, Ghost successfully combined the ritualism of their debut with the big atmospheric numbers from Infestissumam to produce a storming, if somewhat more commercial, record. Now worthy Grammy Award winners, the band have been touring tirelessly over the pond, but have still found time to bang out a five track EP to sate our Satanic desires, cunningly entitled Popestar.
Square Hammer, the only Ghost original on this EP, is a typically demonic romp with Papa Emeritus III crooning over the tinkling Hammond before the band’s trademark 70s inspired guitar work hits. Considering the crossover appeal of much of Meliora, it’s no surprise to hear Ghost knock out such a catchy number again, and the song wouldn’t have sounded out of place alongside any of its brethren on that last LP. This track is an absolute delight to listen to again and again, and if it hints at the direction of album number four, the band’s next record can’t arrive soon enough.
Meanwhile, the covers section of the EP begins with a dark take on Echo And The Bunneymen’s Nocturnal Me. The Bunnymen’s spaghetti western stylings are replaced by something a little more sinister, but there’s still enough of a nod to the original to be a pretty recognisable homage. I Believe, originally a track by Simian Mobile Disco, is stripped of much of its electronica, focusing more on a haunting vocal over a stark synth backdrop, while Eurythmics’ Missionary Man is given a hard rock workout as Papa does his best Annie Lennox impression. Out of all four covers on Popestar, the song that remains the closest to its original is Imperiet’s Bible, an epic power ballad that keeps much of its grandeur as Ghost play it straight for a change.
As with Ghost's previous EP, If You Have Ghost, the band have picked tunes that lend themselves well to a spooky rework and in the main it's an interesting listen. It's just shame that we can't have more original tunes right now whilst the band are at their inventive peak.