United Ghosts' debut album plays through like a journey in their hometown Los Angeles from dusk until dawn. The band have stated that they wanted to explore the darker side of the city, and the first two thirds of the album live up to this. Opening track Echo Lake starts with a lone synth before organ and drums gradually crescendo into a looping bass line. It is brooding and stately and sets the tone perfectly for the second track and album highlight, Unhypnotized. Like their shoegaze contemporaries Blonde Redhead, vocalists Sha Sabi and Axel Steuerwald duet over an abrasive guitar line that bursts into a chorus of pure pop.
Tracks like Sparkle and Fade sound like the band are being backed up by Neil Young’s Crazy Horse, while Sparks From A Cold Star is like the sunnier side of Husker Du. The final tracks Somewhere And A Day and Aftershadows slip out from the dark into the light but the band seem to operate better when exploring their darker side. Like the city that inspired them, they have created a dark, dislocated and eerie debut. Visit unitedghosts.com to buy the album
Words: Stuart Livens Photos: Robin Pope