Dead Brother – Love Ghost (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

One of the great things about listening to a band over a long period of time is watching it grow. Since I started writing about Love Ghost back in 2018, things have certainly evolved, sonically and otherwise, and the music you find coming out of there corner today is certainly a more mature, more thoughtful, a more unique version of their earlier sound. Every band grows, and indeed grows up, but there is something honest and applaudable about a band doing it in public.

There has always been a dark streak running through the band’s music, but whereas in the past it may have taken a secondary role to the exuberance and intensity of their grunge riffing and youthful energy, Dead Brother takes that dark thread and makes it the focal point. And boy, is it dark! The bass swaggers both beguilingly and dangerously, the drums are taken back to spacious four-four minimalism, the guitars wander between chainsaw aggression and sonic singularities to chime and chill, shimmer and shiver as required. And then there is the subject matter!

Rock music has always toyed with the horrific, the dark and the dangerous, these have always made perfect bedfellows. But generally it has been easy to see the line between theatre and reality ,from Alice Cooper’s hammed up House of Horror to the maudlin machinations of modern metallers, it was always been all about the show. But when Finnegan Bell whisper-sings to us the gory details of his recent murderous exploits you don’t know whether to phone for Hollywood or the police! This is convincing stuff.

It’s a balance of the sonically sweet and the lyrically piercing that hasn’t been this convincing since the likes of Johnette Napolitano sang about gods and bullets and lowlifes and vampires, and the botched and the bungled, and for a band to go from channelling the more obvious elements of grunge to echoing with the real alternative vibe of the likes of Concrete Blonde is evolution indeed.

But the reality is that whatever references I throw out, Love Ghost are nothing but their own people. You can find references and influences in any band but now, more than at any time before, I think you are beginning to hear this band finding themselves and developing a style which will really set them apart from the pack.

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