GHXST – Admire

Posted: 25 April 2022 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

22nd April 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

This seems to have been a long while coming – and that’s because it has. The New-wave / No-Wave gothy post-punk duo have been kicking out killer EPs for a decade already. Six EPs and a single to be precise, with each EP containing five, six, or even seven tracks. It’s a substantial body of work, however you look at it. And yet it’s only now that they’ve got around to an album proper.

They’ve made the most of the time and the previous releases to realty hone and refine their sound, and having done so, Admire feels like a proper album. It’s ten tracks, solid, packed, back-to-back, arranged with sequence in mind. It’s a sequence that finds things getting slower in the second half, and it would be interesting to hear how this pans over two sides of vinyl. Admire would likely be dissected as having a ‘fast’ and a ‘slow’ side.

As Admire demonstrates, GHXST have remained true to their original sound and ethos – scuzzy, reverb-soaked murkinesss, with a deep psychedelic twist. There’s a lot of twist and a lot of noise on Admire. Comparisons only go so far with these guys, and while The Jesus and Mary Chain is an obvious one, they’re probably closest to A Place to Bury Strangers in their shimmering wall of sound face-melting blast of FX and overdrive. I may have also mentioned Curve before as a comparison: it still stands, and I’m wondering why when people are whittering about various 90s bands

The build on the upward arc is fairly rapid to say the least: it’s just over two minutes into single cut ‘Pls, You Must Be a Dream’ that the extra level of distortion kicks in and blows the roof off everything. And for a time thereafter, you find yourself adrift in a wash of reverb and overloading distortion. Things simply drift: it’s dense, it swashes and coasts along, splashing against the shores as the waves splash the deck, and each song has a certain supple power.

‘Sonores’, the album’s seventh track, marks the first real spot of respite as they pare things back to a swampy synth and bulbous bass notes hang in the dense air, and ‘Nights of Paradise’ slows things to a crawling trudge that threatens to take the album down into a low-tempo slump, as if they’ve run out of steam and simply got stoned to a half-pace stoned sonic swamp. In context, recent single ‘Marry the Night’ is a bit of a crawler, and closer ‘Only Lovers’ is a murky slice of wistful melancholy. Of course, all the best albums conclude with a slow-burning epic, and this is definitive. Don’t ask me why, but this is one of those slow-burning min-epics with piano and a towering wall of rippling overdrive what tugs hard on the emotions and makes me want to cry without even understanding why. But it is, without question, an outstanding finale to what is, also without question, an outstanding album.

AA

AAA

173508

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