It's strange how piano-driven bands can be so brilliant and yet today's music charts are ruled predominantly by more hard rock and hip-hop artists. So firstly, lets give praise to the debut album that has the guts to be at the wrong end of the current musical spectrum. Bluntly, this is a feel-good album of chart-friendly indie in which every track could potentially be released as single. It pure genius. This surrey four-piece has the best bits of bands stuck together for great effect, Keane, Radiohead, Thirteen Senses, the Bluetones and even hints of early Cure. The group itself is truly something special. Johnny Harris' drums are simple, yet create the foundations of their catchiness, Mark Treasure on keyboard adds the delicate unearthly feel that makes the band what it is and Robbie Smith's Bass holds them together like glue. Then there is Simon Pettigrew, the shaggy haired, cheeky-chappy front man (not unlike 'Gaz Coombes' from Supergrass) whose vocals make it sound as if his throat is laced with honey. Then there's the simple fact that his attitude is so perfect for a lead singer that we here at Tempo have a suspicion that he was born singing into a microphone. Live, his constant audience interaction and engaging personality make Ghosts one of the best live acts this year, when criticized he simply explains that "we're never going to please everyone." Finally, a great vocalist who doesn't fancy himself a self-proclaimed god.
Ghosts have confronted the classic indie scene with more cohesion than Coldplay ever mustered. This top 3 track review should make things clear.
Stay The Night -This opener boasts happy-go-lucky melodies, sugar spun choruses and a catchiness that will have your heart bouncing along with the bass drum as you sing along. There are stabs of brass that reference to early Cure, the chorus could have been ripped straight out of an early Bluetones record and all-in-all this is a cheeky romp of a record that's all about the thrill of a night of passion and leaves you anticipating the rest of the album.
Musical Chairs - Continues the cheerful vibe and has verses that build up and up to the chorus which is a crescendo of hope; the verses bounce off them through the clever guitar riffs with perfection.
The World Is Outside - A shimmering blend of keyboards and bass that fizzes with energy and a laidback sense of style that's strangely reminiscent, at times of Dandy Warhol's - The Last High. A blinding song that escalates to a chorus of falsetto highs and stabbing rhythms that is as commercially populist as it is catchy.
Even though the last two tracks on The World Is Outside were a disappointment, it has to be said that the whole thing was an amazing experience (Yes, that's right, not an album, an experience.) Ghosts have slain the mighty dragon known as the music charts; not because they conquered it, but because they sacrificed money for truly amazing songs. Ghosts are the future of indie music, you need to embrace them or be left behind. Their shimmering blend of comforting sounds and piano, mixed with Simon Pettigrew's brilliant vocals make for an awe-inspiring and jaw dropping debut. So jump on the 'Ghost train' and hang on, it's going to be a long ride, which leads me back to the start of this review. The next time your paying the bills or waiting at the traffic lights, just think "I can listen to Ghosts", stick them on and let that smile spread across your face. Ghosts + a Rainy Sunday = Feet Tapping and a Mentally Sunny Day.