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New Ghost New Ghost Orchestra

New Ghost Orchestra
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New Ghost are something of a Northern underground alternative music supergroup and their debut album is a collaborative effort that proves itself more than the sum of its parts.

Lifting off on its spacey journey on the wings of lush ambience, propelled by simple electronic bassline and a beat that doesn't sit a million miles away from the sounds of indie stars the xx, it's track two, 'Hours', that drops us into familiar post rock territory.

Main songwriter Chris Anderson lends a strong, melodic vocal performance from the offset, floating high above the layered guitars and synths. The driving, half-time bass riff links together passages that vary from slow and lilting to more upbeat rock, showing off the enjoyable range of sounds that New Ghost effortlessly package up into a digestible pop opus. Key here, though, is the ever-present undercurrent of evolving synth noises, scrambled vocal processing and reverberating guitar effects, making for a richly-layered texture sitting beneath the infectious hooks.

New Ghost Orchestra is a gorgeous album to get lost in

The placement of 'Burning Out' as track three suggests an active attempt to lay out the breadth of possibilities New Ghost can take advantage of, with a pulsing electronic beat and emotive female vocals bringing a new edge, the dreamy guitar tones smoothing over the musical turns and maintaining consistency. Later, 'Nightdrive' dives further into this electronic landscape, with deep kicks providing a backbone to subtly progressive time signatures swirling over an endless drone, eventually giving way to a saturated guitar and drum climax.

'Not Enough' is an immediately catchy tune and, despite its brilliantly crunchy and angular riffing midway through, deserves anthem status. Elsewhere, the soft shoegaze of ballad 'The Rest', held taut by piano and a strumming acoustic guitar, provides the most potently youthful and nostalgic track here, a theme present throughout the record.

The reprising 'Sleepwalkers Part 2' places the glitching ambience of its earlier incarnation over a beautifully simple piano sequence, like Hiatus meets Carbonscape, before jetting off into an upbeat, almost 8-bit electronic shuffle, managing to maintain real sincerity thanks to the progression in the bass and synth pads.

Closing track 'Stampy' is a deeply moving highlight, with lyrics of love, loss, regret and letting go set to tear-jerking harmonic changes. There's an almost choral climax to the track, with endless instrumental and vocal layers, including the unexpected addition of a saxophone buried in the mix, creating an emotionally cleansing effect.

New Ghost Orchestra is a gorgeous album to get lost in, layered so deeply that you'll find something new with every listen. Despite a few of the middle tracks meandering a little without leaving too much of an impression, the highs are more than worth persevering for. New Ghost always maintain a subtleness and composure that could easily be lost in a release so rich in talent and emotion - and therein lies this album's strength.

Richard Spencer

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