Former Ghosts - New Love

A delicious mixture of slowed down Metronomy, Kate Bush without the melodrama and Interpol without all the stadium-friendly whinging.

Label: Upset The Rhythm

Rating: 8

Former Ghosts, who are comprised of main-man Freddy Ruppert and guests Nika Roza Danilova of Zola Jesus fame as well as Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and newcomer to the troupe Yasmine Kittles of the L.A. act Tearist, unleash this year’s most promising dark-electro-noise LP with ‘New Love’. And a new love it is indeed.

Kicking off with four-to-the-floor electro-heartbreak tune ‘And When You Kiss Me’, Former Ghosts sound like a delicious mixture of slowed down Metronomy, Kate Bush without the melodrama and Interpol without all the stadium-friendly whinging. For this album, the band set a tone that is equally melancholic yet uplifting, simultaneously sombre yet romatic. Main-man Freddy Rupert entices with his menacingly sonourous voice taking you on a tour around the darkest edges of his heart. ‘New Love’ is an album so full of emotion it can only be contained by minimalistically instrumented and beautifully stripped down electronic arrangements.

On stand-out tune ‘I Am Not What You Want’, Former Ghosts sound uncannily like Joy Division with a modern twist, like Ian Curtis desperately clinging on to post-industrial dance influence. Rupert’s emotive vocals dance slowly with Jamie Stewart’s girlishly warm voice on this tune making the two of them the Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot of the Noughties. It’s a duet of love, loss and longing. It’s what the best songs are written about.

While largely cold and dark, the album has a few flickers of hope and light. There are extremely haunting vocals and bleakly obscure lyrics on the one hand, but there are also plenty of pulsating, forward-moving dancey tracks that create a perfect balance between what the heart and body desire. More conventional electronic fares like the brittle electronic workouts on ‘New Orleans’ pack a massive emotional punch. ‘Chin Up’ is also a real gem endowed with a scorching, distortion-heavy lead vocal from Zola Jesus and a riotous electronic production that thumps and tears at its own flesh.

With tracks such as the eponymous ‘New Love’ and first single ‘New Orleans’ Former Ghosts are riding high on the coldwave, errr, wave, but despite probably being played in numourous depressed teenage bedrooms, they defnitely wouldn’t be inaproppriate on dancefloors either. If last year’s debut ‘Fleurs’ suggested a distinct excitability along with a real dark mania, then ‘New Love’ is the naural follow-up with its fleeting feelings and bleak beats. Former Ghosts sure know how to compose a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days, but they also write songs that make you wanna throw yourself off the nearest bridge. Those songs infiltrate your mind with their oblique mist of misery and mood. They imprison you. In a good way.

Last song on the record ‘Winter’s Year’ perfectly encapsulates that bittersweet feeling the entire LP is all about. It’s a tense love-hate relationship coming to life through chilly ballads and new romantic crooning. We all fear winter for its short cold days, but when we sit inside in the warm, we all appreciate its icey beauty. ‘New Love’ is the perfect album for that time of year.