By Gig Monkey
Ghosts in the Photographs – A Murmur, A Charm, A Murder. (EP)
Instrumental music can be a wonderful thing but it can also be rather problematic – the lack of vocals can often mean there is no focal point for the audience, nothing for them to hook into.
Musicians will often try to combat this with constantly changing lead parts, a technique that can lead to muddled and messy pieces of work that tend to disappear up their own backsides with their own sense of importance.
But, captivating instrumental music has been practiced by EDM producers for some time and it is great to hear a band like Oxford’s Ghosts in the Photographs take cues from their electronic brothers and sisters to create a cohesive EP that manages to keep the listener involved. It is not perfect, there are some wobbly moments where you get the impression ideas were running low, but for the clear majority of the work it flows along at just the right pace, allowing each movement to grow, breathe and have a life of its own. It is also a diverse record – sampled voiceovers give way to crunching guitars and pounding drums whilst ambient washes of atmospheric sound butt up to gently finger-picked acoustic guitar sonnets. The most obvious guitar based touchstone being perhaps …And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead, a band who also have an ability to allow a track to organically develop.
Somehow it makes sense, somehow this strange, shoegazy, post-rock electronica becomes coherent, deft story-telling without words. Clever and beguiling stuff indeed.