As Manchester begat Oasis and Sheffield begat Arctic Monkeys it would seem that the coastal clime of Brighton is proving itself as the next burgeoning hotbed of great British talent, and may be the origins for the ‘next big thing’ that the likes of Radio 1 are always on the hunt for. Despite being renowned for its accommodating nature to the gay scene, there’s a remarkable amount of pissed off young men ready to shred guitars and vocal chords to say what they feel has to be said.
The Ghost of a Thousand join the latest in an ever-growing number of these angry bands, with a sound that harks back to the anarchic nature of 70’s punk. But whilst the likes of Gallows have found mainstream success by ramming their heads far up their rectums and proclaiming themselves the saviours of British society, TGOAT rely upon their humbler background to add weight and power to their latest effort.
There’s a palatable sense of aggression within the confines of the album, no doubt exacerbated by the production duties of Pelle Gunnerfeldt (Refused, The International Noise Conspiracy) who is no stranger to dealing with musicians mightily pissed off with the world. Talking about the album’s lyrical content, vocalist Tom Lacey explained that it’s about ‘being a 26-year-old guy suddenly realising that all the stuff that you associate with being young and full of wonder at the world are being taken away from you.’ Unsurprisingly he seems pretty angry at that prospect, as the dramatic yelps on the subject matter of meeting you maker will attest to.
Their sound is so much more than just angry brats screaming over distorted guitars. The band seem pretty open to different vibes, taking in the likes of Motley Crue on ‘Knees, Toes, Teeth’, which also features a solo that reminds the ears of a one Slash. Hell, there’s even a semblance of The Vines (remember them?) in there, albeit a version of The Vines that never recorded ‘Melodia’, and probably just stuck with writing ‘Get Free’ over and over again. Still, it’s interesting to hear this clear melting pot of inspirations, and it’s refreshing to hear a band get the balance of plagiarism and originality pretty much spot on.
The production of Gunnerfeldt is truthful to their raucous live show. ‘Bright Lights’ sounds massive; the bass creating an earthquake that frontman Lacey can barely be heard over. You can tell they’re pouring their hearts out into some of these tracks, making you stand up and take notice. It’s all fairly relentless, hurtling along at a head-dizzying pace but the drive of songs like ‘Canyons of Static’ picks you up like an underwater current, dragging you along unpredictably until eventually it’s all over. The only real refrain is ‘Small Mercies’ and ‘Nobody Likes a Hero’ the first being a brief piano interlude, and the second beginning like some kind of heartfelt ballad, before the chorus ploughs ahead with those wild guitars and screaming.
At just over half an hour long, New Hopes is a fairly brief affair, packed tightly with different ideas and an excitable pulse. The band know not to stretch their material thinly over the ground, instead keeping it concise, which only makes the music stand out more. There’s not much more to say other than the fact that that album is full of rather catchy hooks and a brazen polish that just gives it an edge over some of the similar albums it will be inevitably compared to. If the superstardom of the likes of Gallows has alienated their message to you somewhat, consider The Ghost of a Thousand.
Originally published on The Line of Best Fit.