Posted on March 2nd, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Six-piece Chicago based group, Ghastly Menace, fits in somewhere among the lo-fi pop rock genre. With the January release of their first full length album, Songs of Ghastly Menace, however, it seems like labels can be done away with. This album carves out an individual place for the band, encompassing a sound that immediately seems distinctly their own. Even with songs ranging from tuned-down surf rock, to piano driven experimental pop, there remains a cohesiveness to Ghastly Menace’s work. All of this is particularly impressive for the first album from a band. Songs of Ghastly Menace demonstrates that, even so early on, Ghastly Menace is well defined in terms of their stance as a band, and it’s almost somewhat intimidating.

In terms of energy, the first two tracks, “80s” and “Closing,” both released as singles, take focus. Both take the form of pop rock with vague surf rock sensibilities, and a formulaic structure. On the whole, they’re hip and easy. What they do best is establish what’s distinctive about Ghastly Menace: the clean production and guitar, rhythmic appeal, and most importantly, the unique vocals.

Though the mood and style of the album rise and fall, these qualities hold true. Ghastly Menace demonstrate their capacity for softness in songs like “She Won’t Stay For Long,” a piano driven, mournful track that is eventually joined by some deep drumming and guitar of the same appeal. In contrast, there’s “Real Life,” which contains nearly yelled vocals and straight noise as it reaches a point of mass energy.

It’s pretty clear that Ghastly Menace is comfortable not only with a range of tones, but also with doing simply whatever they want. Brief moments of Songs of Ghastly Menace, like the unexpected twenty seconds of light singing and piano that follows the noise of “Real Life,” and the quirky, perhaps even old-timey rhythm of “Shadow Song,” ultimately don’t do much to compliment the album as a whole. Instead, they simply reflect the additional ways in which Ghastly Menace is truly doing their own thing.

Songs of Ghastly Menace, ultimately establishes what the band has to offer. By the end, there’s a perfectly clear image of what Ghastly Menace is about. It shows that regardless of what the band does, it’ll still sound like them. The album isn’t necessarily exceptional on its own, but shows that Ghastly Menace is already fully formed as a band, and after only one album, that’s pretty noteworthy.

Track List:

  1. 80s
  2. Closing
  3. Living Together
  4. While You’re Here
  5. On Our Way
  6. Real Life
  7. She Won’t Stay For Long
  8. Shadow Song
  9. Wait
  10. Rooftop Song
  11. Children
Ghastly Menace - Songs of Ghastly Menace Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

70 / 100
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