Sunday, August 26, 2012

REVIEW: Hungry Ghost - Hungry Ghost

Hungry Ghost's pedigree is impeccable, and given the variety of backgrounds of its members, it's no surprise that their self-titled debut is sprawling, messy and awesome. The band consists of Sara Lund (Unwound, Corin Tucker Band) on drums, Andrew Price (Irving Klaw Trio) on guitar, and the Lorca Wood attack (The Drags) on bass. Sam Coomes of Quasi produced and also plays some keyboards on the record. They describe themselves as a supergroup of "obscure 90's indie rockers".

The sound is strongly punk-influenced heavy rock - heavy drumming and bass anchor some spectacular flights of guitar shredding. They sort of play on the Kinks' "Powerman" to start off the record, and it's reimagined in a way that is both familiar and unique: "Am I a Powerman/or just a regular man?", then a whole bunch of guitar playing, and "This is my comeuppance/you knew it had to come". You may hear echoes of Heatmiser, Sonic Youth and Eleventh Dream Day - I certainly do.

And they veer off into jazz and funk territory, featuring some interesting tempos and little touches like the falsetto vocals at the beginning of "Shame" and the almost chicken-scratch guitar throughout that song. But even there, the heavy bottom keeps things anchored. On "Alice", things slow down a bit and the band stretches out with some keyboards serving to anchor occasional guitar flights and variety in the bass and drum attack. But things pick up again on "Wicked Betsy", a punk song in which Price yelps over a guitar attack and the whole thing's done in a little over three minutes. What could be more punk than that? The final cut, "Know" is terrific - it stretches out in a way that reminds me of "Voodoo Child".

Here's a video of them performing "Wicked Betsy" in Japan:

The record came out July 31, and you can check out the record and buy a digital at Bandcamp:

Or you can buy a physical copy, click here.

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