Ghost Music - I Was Hoping You’d Pass By Here

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-01-19
Ghost Music - I Was Hoping You’d Pass By Here
Ghost Music - I Was Hoping You’d Pass By Here

Listening to Ghost Music and their formal debut album  I Was Hoping You’d Pass By Here, there are two questions that can start nagging you. The first would be - how can a pop-oriented debut sound so refined and accomplished? The second would be - when did this Flying Nun label nugget pass me by?

To resolve that first question and the reasons why Ghost Music present such reassured and refined music you would need to do a bit of research and find out that the key men behind the band are Matt Randall and Lee Hall, who in the Nineties played in the John Peel frequents Beatglider, while Randall himself was behind Plantman and its three albums.

The second one certainly refers to the sound of their music (no Julie Andrews around), which has more to do with a certain atmosphere and attitude, and only partly to directly drawn musical inspirations. The key bands that characterised what you would call the Flying Nun sound; The Chills, The Clean and The Bats, whose sound Ghost Music could be likened to the most, had their own inspirations too: The Velvets, The Beatles, even The Beach Boys, but all filtered through what you would call The British psych sound, by the time it would reach their native New Zealand.

But Ghost Music is not from New Zealand but from Southend, so you get a feeling of some sort of a refracting mirror that actually makes an image (music) of its own, while adding a bit of an Americana touch to what they are coming up with (the brilliant “Let’s Meet” here). But then, with all the Flying Nun and Americana references, Ghost Music retain their British Isles touch, as evidenced by the Syd Barrett filtered through Incredible String Band  “Queen Of England”. Still, even if you can make the obvious Flying Nun connection, Ghost Music come up with exemplary tunes like “This Kingdom” and “Girl In A Whorl” that simply make you enjoy instead of thinking what they sound like.

On I Was Hoping You’d Pass By Here the band (that includes the rhythm section of Leighton Jennings and Roy Thirwall) actually go for creating something that you could truly call ghost music - whether it is reviving some old song ideas that did not materialise previously, hanging in their heads like ghosts, or whether it is in a musical and lyrical subject matter like in the impeccable “Blackbird Stars”.

I’m certain that by the end of this year quite a few ‘heavyweight’ and critically acclaimed albums will fill out the ‘best of the year’ list. But in the years to come, this one is guaranteed to get more steady plays, at least at my place.

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