Though it is hard to exactly pin down the precise reason, it is very easy to find a connection with the music of UK outfit Ghouls. Whether it is the fusion of familiar essences with something fresh and individual, the lyrical themes drawn from being on the outside of the assumed norm, or the refusal to be pigeonholed in life and style, probably all three, the London based sextet make for an instinctive pleasure in ears and imagination.
The release of new album RUN epitomises that union; a dozen tracks bred in a fusion of pop and core punk, alternative rock, and numerous other flavours which has the body dancing, ears pleasured, and spirit defiant. The successor to debut album Ten Thousand Words On released a year after the band’s emergence in 2013, RUN is a band relaxed in its musical skin and bold in its creative ambition. Since their first album, a release striking the spark for the band to sell-out The Monarch in Camden and earn the continuing praise of Frank Turner, Ghouls have become a potent lure on the UK and European live scene and at festivals such as 2000Trees, Jera On Air, The Secret Garden Party, Mighty Sounds, Hit The Deck and many more. Last year alone saw them undertake a two week tour of the USA, play THE FEST in Gainesville, Florida, and successfully light up Brixton Academy as part of the Fireball Fuelling The Fire Tour.
Now it is RUN ready to push the band and its reputation on again and does a fine job of both from its very first moments courtesy of opener Seasonal Affective. Infectious from its first breath with strolling riffs and keen beats, the track soon blossoms again with fuzzy squirts of guitar and the potent voice of guitarist Benedict Goold. With emotion and energetic expression in his strong delivery, his presence makes an early focal point backed by heated melodies and the swinging jabs of drummer Jay Swinstead. The track never erupts as it suggests it might but rather lets its lining of grumbling shadows led by Sam Mussell’s growling bass add rich intrigue as hooks and catchy exploits engage.
It is a great start to the album which Autophobia continues with its fiery bounce. Quickly revealing the inviting flames of Ben Maz’s sax and Russell Spencer’s trombone, the song rumbles along with a pop punk eagerness. Like a mix of The Hostiles and Neck Deep, it grabs ears and appetite with ease though it is still eclipsed by the rousing revelry of Better Places straight after. With an initial blast of brass stirring the spirit, the encounter soon reveals a great landscape of instinctively catchy bait whether the song relaxes into a thoughtful calm or leaps to its toes and grabs hips and feet in a tenacious bounce. That earlier mentioned familiarity is already open across the three songs and like an old inspiring friend within the third before helping fuel the contagion of next up Facebook Friend. With a hip hop lilt to his delivery, Goold acts like a ringmaster to the confident mischief and subsequent boisterous swagger and aggression of the outstanding song.
The pair of Salt with its sultry brass infusions and rhythmic rumble especially alluring and The Difference through its impassioned heart keeps things bubbling nicely even if neither quite scales the heights of those before them for personal tastes. The first of the two though is as memorable as anything upon RUN and equalled in that attribute by the reflective voice and tenacious canter of Home. Another proposition drawing on the “daily grind of real life and the struggles faced in the modern day” for its spark, it has the body a lively blur in no time.
Antagonist has funkiness in its swing as it forges another moment within the album firmly sticking in thoughts; its body a tapestry of controlled and volatile enterprise which never leaves a dull moment before Hard Days captivates with its lively croon and infectious pop fuelled romp and in turn Disavowal prowls and catches alight with emotive intensity. More of a slow burner than other tracks around it, it similarly grows into one of the hearty episodes returning at will in the imagination.
Completed by firstly the acoustic caress of voice and guitar of Expect Greater Things, a song which just grabs the passions from the off, gripping even tighter as the track eventually ignites into a full fire of sound and infection and finally Oxytocin which closes things with melodic flaring in an excitably catchy escapade. The pair provides a fine end to a release which has enjoyment bubbling over from start to finish.
RUN carries the potential of even greater adventures ahead with Ghouls where an appetite for the bite which this album hints at but never quite delivers may be satisfied. The album though ticks all the right boxes for forty odd minutes of rich pleasure and physical animation, its new maturity in songwriting and sound declaring Ghouls ready for big attention.
Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright