The End - The Ghosts Album Review
Not to be confused with the BBC Sound of 2007 nominees of almost the same name, THE Ghosts were formed a few years later by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's occasional contributor Alex Starling, at a time when depression sank in after the suicide of Charlie Haddon at Pukkelpop. But, despite the sadness surrounding the formation of this new band, the foundations for much of the quintet's debut-album have been built around synth-pop melancholia that sports a neat and tidy line in radio-friendly choruses.
"The End" isn't miserablism in the truest sense, moreover it is an assemblage of 'hits', if such things mattered anymore. Take the pounding uplifting self-titled opening song - "Ghosts" is as near to pop perfection as you're going to get without some hackneyed entrepreneur lobbing cash at it or it being sung badly by some hairdresser from the Midlands. Luckily, Starling can sing decently enough (not unlike Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook on a couple of songs), while his cohorts rinse the kind of tunes that Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds), Aqualung, Thomas Dolby, OMD (the single "Enough Time" starts like a slowed-down "Enola Gay") and Saint Etienne might be proud of. "Underrated" continues with the high standard of rousing electro-wave, while further throbbing motorik sky-gazing can be sampled on "Forgetting That We Know" and "Eyes On Another One". The high-quality of the production from Tim Bran (The Charlatans, Paul McCartney) is made all the more incredible by the fact that this 11-song set took just a fortnight to finish off, yet it sounds like two months.
There is more than a portion of Pet Shop Boys with "In an Emergency" and the sorrowful "They've Started Guarding", but this isn't out-and-out plagiarism, this is merely a statement of fact - The Ghosts are interesting enough to be compared to Tennant and Lowe and worthy of your pennies. Whilst these newbies don't punch very hard with lyrical weight, they more than make up for that with the sweeping melodies and arrangements. The closing musical-box lullaby "Unless" is as pretty as a picture, performing the simple task of persuading or encouraging this reviewer to press repeat for the entire album. "The End" is surely only the beginning of a fruitful career for The Ghosts.