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Ghost:Hello – Sound of Color in Space

Sound of Color in Space
by Santiago Puyol at 23 July 2019, 11:27 PM

GHOST:HELLO is an American Stoner Rock band, or as they define themselves Ultra-Heavy Stoner Darkwave, a definition they live up to with their mix of heavy riffs, psychedelic textures and synthesizers that seem out of the soundtrack of a horror B-film. Influenced in equal parts by BLACK SABBATH, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and THE PRODIGY, with a touch of DEEP PURPLE's most psychedelic facet and DEVO's rockiest side, GHOST:HELLO debut with the sinister and catchy "Sound of Color in Space".

The record opens with an instrumental one-two punch: the soft and ambient "Alcubierre Metric" and the noisy, bluesy "Fingerstache". Both flow perfectly into the aptly titled "Perfect". With strange and hilarious high-pitched vocals and based on a repetitive figure of synthesizer, the third track of the album manages to introduce the listener into a dimension of spooky psychedelia.

"The Mouth of the Gift Horse" exacerbates the madness by resorting to dissonant screams and a Hardcore Punk vibe. Screamed vocals happen to be an inspired choice after the surreal mood built by previous track. The synth melodies sound vaguely similar to BLACK SABBATH in the Ozzy era.

Another instrumental follows. "Bardo State" makes use of cult-like and preaching samples, some from the Heaven's Gate cult, also used by PORCUPINE TREE in "Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled". It is a pretty unsettling but catchy instrumental. Nina Rich's synthesizer work is fundamental in building an oppressive atmosphere here, while Joe Kidd's drums keep the rhythm steady, working as a ground wire. There are some nice production tricks with sound placement, making the experience quite immersive.

After the exotic respite that "Nemesis" turns out to be, with its soft percussion and a sound à la "Planet Caravan" by BLACK SABBATH, comes "Burnout". Its effect-heavy vocals sound closer to KRAFTWERK or some DEVO B-side, above dense and bluesy riffing. At 3:10 there is a fake ending followed by an energetic rundown of the rhythm section. A noisy and epic solo brings Neil Young to mind, at least as an inspiration.

"Spit of Stars" alternates between fast-paced passages with Post-Punk inspired drumming and a DEVO-ish synthesizer melody, and mid-tempo passages with shifting time signatures. A deep, fuzzy bass line from William Jennings serves as the bedrock of the song. It flows pleasantly into closer "Poison Swan". This five-and-a-half minute mini-epic is another great instrumental, with a strong sound influenced in equal parts by Desert Rock and Post-Rock.

The album ends with a sound similar to "F#A#∞" by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, both in its apocalyptic vibe and crescendoing structure. More excellent drumming provided by Kidd here.

GHOST:HELLO show a talent for unusual songwriting and building both moody and relaxing atmospheres with "Sound of Color in Space". This trio follows an experimental and eclectic path, allowing them to go beyond some clichés or common senses of Stoner Rock, although they remain there.

Production is as noisy and weird as the music requires, sometimes opting for a greyer sound and being clearer other times. Although it could be missing some catchiness, this is a very interesting album to listen to, even better with a couple of headphones, and it is certainly easy to get carried away in it. This is truly a surreal experience.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Alcubierre Metric
2. Fingerstache
3. Perfect
4. The Mouth of the Gift Horse
5. Bardo State
6. Nemesis
7. Burnout
8. Spit of Stars
9. Poison Swan
Joe Kidd – Drums & Vocals
William Jennings – Bass & Vocals
Nina Rich – Synthesizer & Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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