Ghostdance –  Dead Planet (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

31959201_238630226881162_6329824278589997056_nDead Planet, whilst being perhaps a bit rough around the edges production wise…everyone has to start somewhere, right… make rock music in that great, loose, meandering, stoner tradition that grew out of the dark underbelly Haight Ashbury hippy ethic, Doorsian dystopian dirges, and classic 70’s  rock and which was then picked up by grunge and US desert blues bands in the 90’s. So in a way it looks back to glory days more than it heads forward into new territory but that’s okay, we all know that music is cyclical, that fashion and phases come around again. Looking back, if you go far enough is the same as  looking forward on the timeline of musical fashion and who is to say that they are not just ahead of the next curve.

If this were indeed the nineties and they were based in, say, Southern California or the wilds of Nevada, they would have been well situated to have been carried along with the movement that produced Kyuss and Sleep and which would later coalesce and commercialise to give us bands like Queens of The Stone Age. They possess exactly the right blends of slow grooving bass, laid back, wonderfully loose vibes, psychedelic references, a sense of dark drama and slow-burning deliveries. The fact that their production is wonderfully raw and slightly ragged, which I’m sure is just due to available budget, actually plays into that scenes retro sensibilities and love of a lo-fi sonic finish.

If you are going to deliver a song that weighs in at over 7 minutes you have to keep the listener interested and that is what Dead Planet excel at. As each minute goes by extra layers and instrumentation add new textures and depths so that the song builds from a brooding, busking, guitar and vocal launch pad, is gradually woven through with bass intricacy and under-pinned with cymbal washes and punctuating drums, to build into something grand, glorious and raggedly majestic. The song finally puts the sonic boot in at a point where most songs would be looking to wrap things up and it is the atmosphere and anticipation of the first two minutes that makes this all the more dramatic. From here the tension and textures are ramped up and eventually you find yourself in a full blown musical maelstrom, wah-wah guitars swirls, beats drive the intensity and bass lines pulse in the background.

It’s a great calling card, though as I have said they need to throw a bit more money at production and mixing, the vocals in particular suffering from being a bit lost in the music but time and money will fix those minor problems. Look beyond that and you have a great track and a wonderful sound, one that links the past with perhaps the next wave of rock music re-invention. Stoner Rock, the second coming! I just hope that when they do have the money to produce a slicker recording they don’t obliterate the loose and wonderfully innocent sound they surround themselves with. It is that anti-fashion, anti-gloss, lo-hi languidness that could actually be the bands greatest selling point.

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