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Thought Forms – Ghost Mountain

Invada

Thought Forms - Ghost MountainLoving that crayon lava of the cover, sleek minimal, that infra red chalkiness dwarfed by a sea of matt black, a darkness from which the title track “Landing” seems to howl. An epic opener, that grinding millstone riff  all Bolan-esque beef, screaming guts, stapling drums and swelling effects. An incredibly powerful vibe, made more so by the purposeful drop into a reflective quietness which effectively notches up the tension for the raw-throated re-entry that knocks you into a Memorex slant, an infernal rage that collapses into clusters of curling effects and loose teeth.

The strummed harmonics of “Ghost Mountain You and Me” swipes the frenzy of the previous track clean away. A hint of late Autumn in the Highlands, light skating across the glen as vocal sinews flex within the drum flurries and spirals of counter riff; it’s as if you were diving into the lustred horizon, your eyes contracting against a blinding glare. “Sans Soleil” continues the magic in a three minute slice of alt pop which glows in dynamic sweeps of jagged riff and loose-limbed softness. The dual vocals bouncing the hemispheres, Charlie’s vocal styling bringing to mind Lush’s glory days as this trio kick out a real punchy presence in searing chord and keeling percussion.

“Burn Me Clean” is when the album truly captures me. A live favourite of the band, always suitably bathed in near darkness,  it’s a slow and miasmic thread kettling footfalls round Joujouka flute, catherine wheels burring the weaving magnetism of sighing chanteuse. Seven minutes in, this simple riff surfs the manatee electronics, signposts an out-growing direction as drums hit deeper until everything explodes in an alka-seltzer of necromancing discord and bruised sky dynamics, leaving pleasing ‘wows’ to cascade through your head in glorious debris.

“Only hollow,” the album’s second alt pop gem jets off in a Sonic Youth blister of transit, an effervescent number with a neon carve of words. In contrast, “Afon”‘s vocals shimmer like a swirl of incense, a slow exotica of eerie murmurs bringing to mind the aesthetics of Charlie’s Silver Stairs side project. Its loose instrumentation and percussive aftershadows stoking up the aura as Deej harmonises the expansion. Taser -like pulsations cross-stitch the bloom, masterful as any of their more explosive exploits.

“Song for Junko” rides a jangled optimistic vibe, chime-ridden guitar and vocal climbs, swinging perspectives that can’t resist ripping into some tasty overdrive. As with “Burn Me Clean” and “Afon,” the final track “O” relishes in the nocturnal. A rich perfume of pitch whine and sustain blurs, like passing cars washing the sodium-stained concrete. Vocals catching smeared rainbows as tumbling sticks and stuttering guitar are suddenly propelled into a tsunami of noise, cries of “White light… White light” eaten up, then ember shot in shortwave fuzz.

I’ve got to say, Ghost Mountain is rather excellent, plumbs a vital, unparalleled beauty that doesn’t lag or go wanting, happily switchblading from visceral to devotional with masterful ease. 48 minutes that blaze their own trail through the bones of post rock, creating satisfying reverberations that you couldn’t fail to be overcome by.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

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