Up-and-coming Brixton-based quintet Ghouls are bringing a fresh and quirky addition to their sound with latest album Run. Described by the punk-rock outlet as a coming-of-age record based on the way young people today look at the messed up world around us, the band have said that their aim is to “offer something for those who stand out and feel they’re different”. Does their second album manage it?
From the outset of first track ‘Seasonal Affective‘, there’s certainly a feeling that this band aren’t one to blend in. There’s something striking about the distorted, crunching sound of the guitars mixed with the tone of lead singer Benedict Goold‘s voice, which doesn’t have the typical faux-American accent that many singers from outside the US perform with.
The album really starts to pick up speed with ‘Autophobia‘, in a literal sense as well as a metaphorical one. The song’s quirky saxophone riff blends seamlessly with the more typical rock instruments to really give a fuller-sounding track that’s irresistible to sing along to. The lyrics stand out, telling an unfolding story in a way that isn’t too predictable and has you hooked until the end.
The band’s youthful energy is expressed best in ‘Facebook Friend‘ – the title tells you that Ghouls aren’t going to shy away from relating to modern life. The song shifts perfectly from another brilliant saxophone melody to darker guitar riffs and an infectious chorus, and it all combines with lyrics that are bitter, but still energetic, to make one of the album’s standout songs.
You feel as though there’s never a dull moment with this album; just as the high energy tone might get a little too much for some listeners, the penultimate track ‘Expect Greater Things‘ begins with a more laid-back, acoustic sound, providing plenty of variety while not being too awkward for the rest of the album. With the final track ‘Oxytocin‘ the album closes out on a high note, in terms of both energy and quality, leaving you wanting to relive the album’s spark.
This is definitely a standout album; fun and intelligently written, and the appeal it holds for those who want to rise above the restrictions and common threads of genres is easy to see.
Run by Ghouls is available 5th May via 1471 Records.