Trip The Light Phantasmic – das Ghoul (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

das Ghoul deal in short, sharp and shockingly good rock and roll. The sort of music which exists at the point where 60’s garage rock, early punk and the less poncy end of the gothic scene merge and infect each other. It’s exactly what The Damned was always about but journalists are lazy buggers, and I should know, and were happy to lump them in with the punk scene rather than see them for the innovators and torch-bearers that they truly were.

And even after a few releases, das Ghoul are deserved of similar, closer inspection. Sure, they can crank out a solid, fired-up slice of raucous rock and roll, opening salvo Ghost Train is proof of that, but what follows shows that the band is more than a one-trick punk pony. Much, much more.

Twisted is a more tempered and…well, twisted… rocker of a ride but it is If Only I Could Remember which captures that same blend of rock and shock schlock plus a strange air of warped romance that the aforementioned Damned were also masters at. Dresden Bats feels like a 60’s psychedelia band gone rogue and Scissors rounds things off in a flurry of fury, pitched somewhere between dark musical vaudeville, League of Gentleman: The Musical and Alice Cooper, and that is something everyone needs in their life, even if they didn’t realise it.

Trip The Light Phantasmic is both the sound of das Ghoul doing what they do best and spreading their sonic wings. The sound palette is wider and the songs more adventurous but when you want a good slice of fist-in-the-air, foot-on-the-monitor, shock-rock with just the right balance of horror and humour, then you know where to turn.

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