The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Ghost Pal: God save Mcfk (Mama Coco Funky Kitchen, 2013)

God Save MCFK cover art

Surgidos como uno de todos esos proyectos paralelos, Ghost Pal es algo así como la reunión de varios talentos liderados por Oliver Ignatius, alma mater del proyeto Mama Coco Funky Kitchen. Sonido a medias entre Psicodélico y embriagadoramente bizarro, mezcla por igual sonidos orquestales con metales, secciones de viento y arreglos más propios de los Beach Boys de Pet Sound o del Pop del Bowie de Space Oddity.
De alguna manera me recuerdan a algunas bandas del colectivo Elephant 6, God save Mcfk es un disco de Pop elegante y sofisticado, idóneo para expandir tus oídos y ampliar tu espectro musical.
Ghost Pal is a fictional band. But not in a sort of Sgt. Pepper’s/exotica “let’s put on a play!” sort of way. I mean Ghost Pal literally doesn’t exist. Let me put it this way: One night, Oliver Ignatius (previously of excellent combos Hysterics, Dirty Faces and Heat Lightning!) ate some bad frozen olive pizza and had a weird dream. At one point in the dream, between the alien invasion and the frozen shipwreck, he fell upon a teeming mass of what looked like buzzing, golden insects, massed together in percolating swells of movement, their vibrations at constant odds with one another, always threatening to become one and always breaking apart at the last minute. On closer inspection, the insects were just little bits of music, strange, beautiful music falling in and out of itself all over the place. When Oliver woke up, he called all his friends together and told them his dream” (Facebook)


Are the first ten seconds of Ghost Pal’s new EP, with steadily deadpan acoustic strums underscored by an insidious maraca groove, a quiet reference to “I am the Walrus”? God, I hope so.
Whether or not it’s emblematic, track one (comically titled “Just Got Punched in the Face by Schmee and the Bad Boys”) doesn’t hesitate to cast the listener headlong into a nebulous weave of sonic texture and mercurial musical maneuvers, one that persists throughout the “God Save MCFK” EP. Oliver Ignatius’ vocals bloom suddenly from somewhere between a croon and a retch, bemoaning soul singer Joe Tex and Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky as “not the evil ones” (these names separated by a wicked little snicker), all the while riding atop the propulsive drums of Matt Evans and eventually collapsing upon an expanse of smoldering feedback provided by Alex da Silva.
da Silva’s feedback dies off and is cleverly juxtaposed against the sure-footed assonance of “Sleep/Whatever,” a trackwhose lyrics suggest ambivalence and maybe even detachment from optimism and achievement, highlighted by, well, the title, and verses such as, “it’s right to see the end, but I won’t stay, ’cause I’m exhausted.” Even so, what gloom may endure is counterbalanced by the ringing glee of Matt Evan’s glockenspiel and Henry Kandel’s penny whistle (think the Lost Boys of Neverland).
What comes next is a manifesto of sorts, a call to arms for all aspiring artists attempting relevancy (and camaraderie) in the 21st century. Mull for a moment, listeners, over this charging verse: “when money’s tight, we’ll have music just to keep us in holy flame, when we can’t talk we’ll be laughing at the fact that nobody came, and when it’s dark I’ll be waiting for all my friends to join.” Transcendent,  I know. What’s more, “God Save Mama Coco’s” is something of a departure from Ghost Pal’s typical style, though we all oughta know the wonderful extremes they’re capable of. Synthesizer dominates the electro-pop track, with punchy flute licks (an MCFK first?) and thick sax harmonies accenting the choruses. Best of all, the track’s abrupt termination is symbolic unto its own.
The thick saxophone harmonies (courtesy of Kandel) return to introduce track 4, this time thrashing against the medium of time. This woodwind movement diverges effortlessly into an acoustic guitar progression that brings to mind the interlude to Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” upon which Ignatius’ vocal phrasing spells out triplet subdivisions and  Evan’s rim taps and minimal snare exude a multi-cultural feel. A delicious guitar solo bisects the track, conveying one towards a raucous outro that fades to the tune of clanging dominant 7 chords.
And then the finale, the Ghost Pal opus if you will, slams itself upon your senses. Full-bodied vocal harmonies and echoing piano chords surround sound itself as “Raja’s Song” takes hold of the speakers, “hold on my king” resonating in the most intimate pockets of your eardrum, as the most lurching, soulful sax groans against a straight-ahead, rootsy 4/4 drum beat. While the groove moves, the lyrics become especially important; the song is a tribute to Ignatius’ childhood dog who recently passed. As cerebral as Ignatius’ words may at times become, he’s never afraid to throw uniquely American venacular into the mix. Take, for instance, this couplet: “lyin’ on the bed in summer, you got me through my bummers alone.” Bolstered by the heartbreaking narrative, the perfectly crafted arrangement of major and minor chords, and the female backup vocals of the Right Witches (you’ll know them soon enough), “Raja’s Song” is a studio masterpiece that welcomes contenders.
With Ghost Pal, one ought never take a musical curveball for face value; each and every compositional turn is calculated and could mean this, that, and everything, or nothing at all. Ghost Pal has their sound; it is a sound that one recognizes for its ability to surprise simply and simply surprise. With “God Save MCFK,” they’re pushing the fuck out of their own” (Mama Coco Funky Kitchen)

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3 julio, 2013 Posted by | Ghost Pal | Deja un comentario


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