Monday, September 25, 2017

Holiday Ghosts - Holiday Ghosts

We're here to discuss an album by Holiday Ghosts, a band from Falmouth, UK.  But even before cuing up the album, we began to ponder just what the name meant.  Are holiday ghosts the ghosts that specialize in haunting your holidays, despite your desire to 'get away from it all'?  Or are holiday ghosts the ghosts of your last disastrous holiday, here to remind you that you spoke too sharply to your spouse, failed to get the exercise you had promised yourself and drank your booze provisions for the week by noon on Wednesday (put your hand down, this isn't a confessional)?  I suppose it could be either, but we prefer a third alternative.  We like to think that holiday ghosts are nothing more, and nothing less, than ghosts on a holiday, having fun and enjoying each other.  After all, shouldn't hard working ghosts deserve some time off like the rest of us?

Of course, being analytical types we should offer some evidence for our preferred explanation.  Our evidence is the self-titled, 12-track debut LP by Holiday Ghosts.  Assembled from carefully curated bits of roots rock, garage pop, punk and a few touches of glossier material, you would be hard pressed to find many more joyful expressions of stripped down, just-for-fun, guitar pop in 2017.  Our first introduction was the frank and darkly witty focus on unsettled mental states, "In My Head".  Once we got the album we couldn't stop moving our feet to the garage pop of "Walk For Hours" and "Quiet Carriage", followed by the bouncing punk pop of "Airwaves".  The roosty strut "Staring At the Moon" (one of our oft repeated songs) leads to the aforementioned "In My Head".  "Paranoia" is our second dose of raucous punk, and we expect it is a staple of live shows.  The next song, the lovely "Truman Show", is the album's most pop song and, led by Katja Rackin's breezy vocals, hints that the band's range may be even wider than this varied album shows.

Garage rock is back on the menu with the racing "Nothing to Show (Nowhere to Go)".  It is followed by the standout "Sleep Through The Morning", which sounds like it was plucked off a nuggets compilation somewhere in the neighborhood of the 13th Floor Elevators -- and we mean that as a high compliment.  Next up is one of the album's most beautiful moments, "Ron Song".  We don't know Ron, or what he did to earn this song, but we hope he deserved it.  The mid-tempo, '60s shaded "At the Same Time, Every Night" is rapidly climbing our interior charts, but we'd have agree with the band's choice of closing with the garage rocker "Can't Bear To Be Boring", featuring a driving rhythm and Katja's talk-sing backed by the guys in chorus.  It is just the sort of song to bring calls for "encore".  And speaking of encores, you can stream Holiday Ghosts at the Bandcamp link at the end of this post.

If you haven't figured it our yet, we'll make it even clearer: This album is terrific.  We have had it on our daily rotation for over a month, and it isn't getting deleted now that we are posting the review.  The energy, songwriting, and performances all are stellar.  This is a smart band, but doesn't make a big show of telling you how smart they are.  You just know after listening.  And we have to give a special shout out for the excellent and varied guitar work on this recording.

Holiday Ghosts are Sam Stacpoole, who we first met as the frontman for The Black Tambourines, Katja Rackin, and Charlie Murphy.  Holiday Ghosts is out now via PNKSLM Recordings.  See the links below for details.

Bandcamp for album
Order page for vinyl
Order page for CD

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