For a band this loud and bracing, Ghost Gum sure do have a knack for sounding serene. The Philadelphia quartet describes itself as “noisy dream pop” on their Facebook, and on their full length debut, The Past, The Future, Dwelling there like space, they live up to that title in spades. Over the course of an exhilarating, eight song set, Ghost Gum delivers hook after glittering, shoegaze-y hook. By the time it’s over, you feel like you just slam danced your way through the Crab Nebula without ever getting up from your seat.
Like most other music bloggers, I’ve never been to space. Still, I imagine being launched into orbit would feel something like the way these songs sound. If Ghost Gum are the pilots and the album is the space ship, then opening tracks “2nd Song” and “Edible Complex” are its first and second stage rockets. After a short interlude, the band launches into The Past’s breathtaking centerpiece, “Home.” This is Ghost Gum at their most tranquil and gorgeous–that is, until the 1:54 mark. With Carolyn Haynes’ call to arms of “It feels like home!”, the song is suddenly jettisoned into transcendental territory as her harmonies soar over crashing cymbals and searing guitar noise.
At this point in the convoluted space ship metaphor, the shuttle would start to plummet back to Earth as Ghost Gum kick things into high gear. The album’s back half sees the group take on a punkier edge with rollicking tracks like “More” and “Repeater”, which feature pummeling drums and shouted vocals. This burst of energy provides a nice change of pace and sidesteps the midpoint slump where a lot of similar albums struggle. The entire thing culminates on the almost six minute epic “You Were You”, a slow burner that fizzles out in a swirl psychedelic ear candy.
It’s been said that, in space, no one can hear you scream, so we should all count ourselves lucky that Ghost Gum came back to tell the tale.
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