United Ghosts’ self-titled debut kicks things off fairly well. “Echo Lake” acts as a nice introduction to the rest of the album and does a good job inviting the listener in. “Unhypnotized” makes a nod towards shoegaze, removing the relentless guitar walls but keeping the haziness of it all: it acts as a hook to grab the listener’s attention and make them want to hear more. “The Revolution Waiting” introduces some electronic elements and comes close to resembling the XX with more balls. It’s an enjoyable trio of songs, one that shows that even if United Ghosts aren’t making anything brand new, they’re adept at choosing and utilising their influences well.
For the rest of the album though, United Ghosts seemingly try to make sure to ruin the good will coming from its opening gambits. Suddenly the new band with an interesting sound turns into a new band with a worn sound as the atmospherics and intriguing stylistic elements are switched to a typical indie rock mix that became incredibly familiar throughout the ‘00s. The band try to keep it interesting with things like two vocalists, but they leave shockingly little to remember as one song switches to another near-identical one. All of it tries to sound very cool and moody, but it comes off as all surface and little feeling. If United Ghosts had managed to guide their musical direction to emphasise the elements that make its initial opening moments such a promising listen, we’d be talking about a whole different kind of review. As it is now, United Ghosts promises something interesting and delivers the opposite.
// Notes from the Road
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