Cool Ghouls - A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye

Fresh eyes are hard to find in the modern age – or maybe it’s called getting old. The ever-expanding deluge soaks each new release until all that remains are dark echoes of memory. So, when the spindly guitar steps well-placed note-by-note through Cool Ghouls’ 'Orange Light' my mind spiralled back to The Shadows – while the band’s triple vocal harmonizing had me thinking of the Beach Boys.

But to talk of A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye as mere pastiche would be doing the San Franciscan group an egregious disservice. Instead, realize how rare it is to hear a modern band incorporating such dexterity into their singing; this hard-won tightness is truly inspiring, voices bound together for emphasis or impact, then separating to lend contrast or counterpoint. The timing is pristine, the intention always precisely fulfilled. The same ambition is visible in the way the song 'Insight' incorporates a telling contribution from a horn section then - after five minutes of high energy, saloon band carousing - switches to a downbeat coda where you can feel the lights going out in an emptying bar, the Ghouls whistle to keep the dark at bay. A talent for structure, for adding timely flourishes or diversions, married to the musicians’ sheer skill, makes for a fulfilling and coherent experience. Someday I’ll be nodding along to a tune while thinking, 'This reminds me of Cool Ghouls' – they’re an echo all their own, and one worth retaining.



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