A man cannot live by metal alone. The problem is, I don’t keep up with other styles of music as obsessively and consistently as I do metal, so when I want something new to listen to that falls outside the genre, I’m often at a bit of a loss. Not sure where to turn, I recently started trawling Bandcamp to see if I could find anything of note that didn’t involve screaming, Satan, loud guitars and the like. Most of the bands I found were total duds, but after much intense searching I stumbled across the Los Angeles trio Ghost Noise, and suddenly all was right with the world.
Ghost Noise taps into some of my favorite things from outside the metal spectrum, namely ’80s synthpop and gothic rock, along with the requisite pinch of Joy Division-style post punk. Their first album, This is the Next Part of Your Dream, is available as a pay-what-you-want download, and it is an awesome and heartfelt take on the aforementioned genres; if you didn’t know better, you might think it was some long-lost relic from thirty years ago. It might be shamelessly retro, but Ghost Noise pull it off so convincingly on tracks like “Amethyst” and “Teen Veins” that you won’t care.
I recently posted a link to Ghost Noise’s Bandcamp page on my Twitter account, and someone in turn described the music as “the soundtrack to a David Lynch-meets-John Hughes movie;” I couldn’t agree more with that description. The minimal synths, programmed drums, and dueling male/female vocals possess a cinematic quality that’s both darkly hued and poppy as all get-out, bolstered by lyrics that are sometimes bleak, sometimes romantic and oftentimes both, weaving tales of longing, suicide and doomed relationships; sounds like pretty good fodder for either director to me.
The production on This is the Next Part of Your Dream is crystal clear, yet it possesses a charmingly amateurish quality that lends a warm, organic quality to the album. The vocals are front-and-center, followed by the synths and guitar, which perfectly suits the music. The canned drums are buried in the mix and are nothing fancy, but they don’t need to be when the synth and vocal work is as compelling as they are on a track like the aforementioned stand-out “Amethyst.” Not every song here is a full-on “hit,” but each composition shows promising craftsmanship, and it’s obvious that Ghost Noise have all the tools in place to be successful.
If you need a break from metal every once in a while, and/or have a soft spot for any of the bands, genres or people I’ve referenced in this post, I’d say there’s a damn good chance you’ll dig Ghost Noise. So what are you waiting for? Get into it.