Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Record review: Future Ghosts - 'Light on Canvas'

By Andrew Hertzberg

Local shoegaze group Future Ghosts released their first album in three years a few weeks back. Okay, I know shoegaze is a vague term, and in fact isn’t entirely appropriate for the band. They don’t overpower the wall of sound technique, and there are quite a few lucid guitar solos that add a psychedelic quality to the songs as well. While the influence of My Bloody Valentine is prevalent all throughout the album, there are certain parts that express other '90s rock influence. The upbeat album opener “When You’re Dead” brings to mind Brit-poppers Suede before “Radiatorsong” brings thing back locally with lead-Ghost Sean Whittaker affecting his best Billy Corgan.

The first three tracks hit hard, before “The Wake” takes things down a notch. The track isn’t as cluttered as some of the other ones, allowing more empty space between the single notes of the electric guitar, the airy quality of an acoustic guitar and the electronic drums giving way to real ones. The overall relationship between gloom and romance that hangs over the album is reminiscent of the Wedding Present. While the whole album is quite upbeat, “Time” is an unexpected dancier number that’s a nice change of pace from the more distortion heavy songs. “After the Party,” one of my favorites live for Sean’s frenetic energy, doesn’t carry quite the same weight recorded, but comes off more haunting; the confusion of the lyrical content is mirrored by the layered vocals, psychedelic guitar and the mantra/prayer “Oh Lord, let us get to the next place.”

The album is bookended by songs with "dead" in the title (not really a surprise from a band called Future Ghosts) which suggest a cyclical nature. "What the Dead Dream" is appropriately dream-pop, with a borderline melody as a lullaby and heavily-reverbed vocals. “Did I get lost in a dream?” Sean asks before the album closes with ominous noises that cut out sharply.

Interested in checking it out? Head over the bandcamp for stream and purchase. “The Drift” and “Radiatorsong” singles are still available for free. Also, check out this mixtape Sean and bassist Tom made for Chicago Mixtape featuring their influences and local choices.

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