Remember when WU LYF released Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
last year and everyone was like It’s catchy but like woah I can’t understand what they’re saying
? Nothing against that particular, beautiful record, but for the life of me I can’t understand why people were dumbfounded by the anonymity of the vocals coupled with distortion and bombast-ion. The technique is one that gives the listener the impression that the music is literally bursting with passion, to the point where it just can’t be comprehended anymore. That, or the lyrics simply don’t matter. Ghost Ship’s debut EP seems to glean around the edges of this first idea, and pairs it with another one of last year’s glaring musical trends- shoegazey noisiness a la The Men. The result is a hazy mess of distortion and wailing; and don’t let theacademy tell you otherwise: it’s certainly not gay.
Beginning at the beginning, there’s a palpable thickness and rugged harmony to tracks like opener “Strange Fear,” especially when the singer goes completely banshee-level-berserk about halfway through. Thankfully, the harmonies and rhythms keep it grounded-- a definite trend throughout. Then the vocals pull the track back and the outro tightens the loose ends on the track, together with the riffs, giving the track a sense of completeness. In listening to similar artists there’s definite points where the blanket of haziness and reverb can be taken for laziness (as I would argue is exemplified by 2011 noise-darlings Iceage), but that’s not the case on Golden Girls
. A strong factor that combats this is the Deerhunter-esque pop sensibility employed throughout, always reeling in Ghost Ship from the otherworldly to remain perfectly seated within the realm of conventional song structure and catchy chords galore.
Resonating as well is the weighty intensity from the indecipherable yelling that is just as often juxtaposed against softer strumming like on the lengthy closer “But Nothing” as it is against the harshness of the wailing on “Strange Fear.” And while Ghost Ship often find themselves playing a little too heavily on influences, Golden Girls
an endearing dissonance that wiggles its way into your psyche amidst the drums that crackle like snapping twigs. Structure-wise the EP works, as well. The highlights fall at the beginning and end, but the middle doesn’t drag by any means.
With an EP like Golden Girls
it’s difficult to pinpoint one overwhelming aspect or factor that defines it, but that’s expected given the nature of the piece (even the elongated, post-punk drawl doesn’t quite manage to characterize it). For instance, “But Nothing” acts as the perfect microcosm for the EP, exemplifying the music’s weird, textured amorphousness in which all the facets of the record are fused together. This gives way to a double-edge though, and the EP is less memorable because of it, which is a shame given how engaging it can be during
a listen. Still, most prominently of all, Golden Girls
, in all its hazy, abstract glory, belies grand levels of anticipation for future work-- hopefully coagulating into something even more outstanding, more distinct, and more memorable.
Also, Adam ***ing Downer