It’s a little disconcerting when your editor hands you a disc and says, “You’ve got to review this – it’s mind blowingly great!”. What if I don’t agree? What if our tastes are different (which I know they are, inspite of the crossover) and I’m just indifferent about it? That would probably be even worse than hating it! Fortunately for all involved, I’m going to have to agree with Seb on this one.
I’m actually going to file this one under ‘bigbeat’, which might seem a little strange at first, but bear with me. There’s a great deal on They Know What Ghost Know that sounds like what bigbeat might have ended up as had it not descended into lowest common denominator yob cliches. If some of the subtler avenues explored by the Chemical Brothers around the Surrender era were explored more fully, I would imagine they’d sound a lot like opener ‘Son Saves The Rest’, and a track like ‘The Tingling’ certainly wouldn’t feel out of place on a Midfield General or Lionrock album. But if the album was merely 90s retro-ism, it would just be an anachronistic novelty. As it is, multiple other styles and techniques are employed, in a bower-bird method that does justice to Joe Corrales’ background as a turntablist and mash-up artist. Psychedelia via shoegazing guitars are a feature throughout and Pink Floyd style keyboard solos are to be heard on ‘The Moon Scene’ and the title track. And ‘Sun Flower Sun Kissed’, possibly my favourite of the tracks, has a middle section built out of the guitar section from Floyd’s ‘Intestellar Overdrive’ just as it dissolves into improvised noise, all housed in an overall rockout reminiscent of Fridge’s early guitar moments. A Suicide sounding drum machine pulse drives ‘A Parking Lot Carnival’ for two minutes until it breaks into the kind of joyful racket that makes me spin around dancing with my arms out wide. I’m assuming that large parts of the instrumentation, particularly drums and guitar, are overdubbed live, or are at least samples of long sections of live playing. The organic and electronic are beautifully integrated throughout, none ever attempting to disguise the existence of the other, but both working together totally complementarily. There’s a metronomic heart, heightened by the pulsing (and often nicely distorted) bass sequencing, but this works to free up the space for the kaleidoscope of sound rather than straightjacket things.
They Know What Ghost Know does all the things a reviewer like myself loves – reminds me of many and, importantly, diverse things that I love in music from the past, while staking new territory to push those elements forward in a way that is inquisitive and opens up further possibilities for others to follow. Like Melbourne’s Mountains In The Sky, Yppah blends various shades of psychedelia with robust electronics, unashamed post-modern recontextualisation and well structured, flowing instrumental music. Definitely a great album.