Because of Ghosts – The Tomorrow We Were Promised Yesterday (Feral Media)

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Three months ago, upon first hearing, I thought that this album was disappointing. Six weeks ago I’d come to think of it as strong, but flawed. Right now, I’m convinced that it’s one of the best things I’ve heard all year. Because of Ghosts’ full-length debut takes repeated and patient listening to really love, but it’s worth the effort, because over time it has an almost centrifugal force, drawing you in closer with each spin. Melbourne’s favourite post-rock trio are making stubbornly intelligent, uneasily beautiful music.

The album is anchored by a few tracks that run full-tilt towards that cliff-dislodging, coulda-moved-mountains, Godspeed You! Black Emperor sound. It only just tips six minutes, but ‘No Stars In Tokyo’ still sounds epic: a blue-black nighttime excursion that limbers up on a nest of messy, frayed guitar noise before finding a pounding central rhythm, interlaced with silvery music-box samples. ‘Let Words Help Pictures’ also takes it time in taking off, building up an intricate pattern of chiming, pointillist guitar notes (some of it courtesy of guest Alex Jarvis) for a full five minutes before a crashing drumkit comes climbing hand-over-foot into the centre of the mix, taking the melody with it.

It’s the percussion and guitar that put themselves forward for first attention on this album. Jacob Pearce has become a terrifically confident drummer, ranging over the kit with affectionate looseness at times (‘Bright Things Come To Confusion’), but able to tighten in an instant in order to reign in his brother Reuben’s deliberately raggedy six-string textures (‘So Quick’). Other textures only reveal themselves with dedicated listening: the scatter-shot glockenspiel that introduces closing track ‘Burn It To the Ground, For Now’, or the wordless choral refrain that runs through ‘Fall Short Of Certainty’. I still think that the band’s sound has simplified, becoming more reliant on live instrumentation and less focused on the delicate sample work that made their early EPs so intriguing, but with simplicity has come a compelling emotional urgency.

Only the title track takes the Constellation/Alien-8 homage perhaps a mite too far, being one of those droning, elevator-shaft interludes that affects urban spookiness but doesn’t really take a listener anywhere memorable. Overall, however, The Tomorrow We Were Promised Yesterday is the sound of band who have come far, already, and doubtless have much further to go. There’s life in that old post-rock genre yet.

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emmy likes cats, cooking, zines and anarchism. tea pots, typewriters and vinyl records make her happy.

1 Comment

  1. wow emmy.

    very interesting reading two different reviews by you on this one album – this one (and the obviously earlier review) in mess and noise.

    thanks for all the nice comments. glad the album has grown on you. It seems to have that characteristic about it…

    jacob.