Ghost have divided opinion and stoked arguments in recent times – strange for a band that are so fundamentally ordinary.
There’s no need to get worked up about who’s in them, how real they are, or whatever. The fact is, behind the visuals and would-be mystique lies an album that is engaging only in very rare bursts.
I find its knowing kitsch deeply off-putting not in itself, but in its almost unremarkable dullness.
A hammy, cod diabolus in musica theme runs through this hippy proto-metal, with all kinds of occult lyrics trotted out for the sake of it and nothing more.
In fact, much of it sounds like a theme tune to some children’s tv programme. It’s hard to imagine ‘Stand By Him’ in any other capacity.
‘Eliazbeth’ works because of its daintily shuffling riff. It’s one instance where the band grasp the late 60’s / early 70’s sound they’re desperately trying to capture everywhere else.
The vocals, with their weedy tone and deliberately flat production, are terribly annoying. Bands used to sing like this because they genuinely were innocent in their ways – this just sounds feigned.
The bass sounds like an elastic band, while the bass drum sounds like its being kicked with toilet rolls on the beater. I’m no fan of clean productions, but that’s not vintage, it’s just crap.
It’s an unfulfilling listen, with almost each song feeling strangely hollow in the middle. It never reaches a peak of any real kind.
In other words, a well presented triumph of style of substance, and thus an abject lesson in great marketing.
Someone somewhere is laughing ghoulishly, all the way to the bank.
2.3 / 5 - Earl Grey ::: 01/12/10