Thought Forms - Ghost Mountain [LP & CD]
This variant is currently sold out
THOUGHT FROMS - GHOST MOUNTAIN
LTD EDITION 'FROSTED WITH PURPLE SPLATTER' 2014 LP REPRESS
(500 units repressed in november 2014)
DIGIPAK CD Variant also availabe
Thought Forms : Ghost Mountain
It takes all of the first 80 seconds of Bristol trio Thought Forms second album, Ghost Mountain, to realise that this is a group who have moved on substantially from their debut of three years ago. Indeed, if their self-titled debut in 2009 was about finding the dynamic limits of their atmospheric sound, gently prodding and probing varying elements, then the huge great slab of guitar that greets you instantly on their follow-up roars with the confidence of a band who’ve found their level from which to fully explore their creative expression.
Charlie Romijn (guitars / vocals), Deej Dhariwal (guitars / vocals) and Guy Metcalfe (drums) have already made their mark live – cultivating a colossal sound that bands twice their number would struggle to re-create - with appearances at ATP Festival I’ll Be Your Mirror and a US tour support slot with Portishead in 2011. Indeed, with a recent support tour with Geoff Barrow’s Beak> and, of course, putting Ghost Mountain out on Invada, there’s clearly a strong link to their fellow Bristolians – more so when you consider that Portishead live member Jim Barr produced the new record. Barr’s input was vital, says the group’s Charlie Romijn: “He totally understood what we're about and where we are coming from,” she explains. “He really helped us to develop our ideas, enhancing or changing songs we weren’t sure about. We completely trusted him and he's really pushed us further than we'd have managed on our own.”
Though the group have fans in Portishead, don’t allow the link to act as any indication of their sound. The album veers between two opposites, from brisk, scuzzy American garage-rock influenced numbers to brutal, anguished noise constructions of ethereal doom, where it feels like they’re tapping into a similar dark psyche to groups like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Circle. With a psych slant too informing tracks like ‘Afon’ and ‘Burn Me Clean’ – where vocals are almost as though a ritualistic call to on high – the scope of Ghost Mountain’s sonic terrain is vast, the result of a varied approach to song writing where wholes form out of group jams – in the case of ‘Burn Me Clean’ from an improvised set supporting Master Musicians Of Bukkake – or from the chrysalis of an idea presented by just one of the trio.
It’s a clear move away from their debut album, though retaining the group’s penchant for creating vast atmospheres; yet Romijn doesn’t feel their approach has altered too much, just that renewed confidence has allowed them to commit to their processes more resolutely. “The odd thing is that the songs on Ghost Mountain are of similar lengths to those on the self-titled album, yet they feel more direct” she says. “Maybe it’s because there’s now a lot more vocals and clearer lyrics involved – something that’s definitely come through increased confidence. Additionally maybe we've had more patience in developing the tracks over time, playing around with the structures and instrumentations a lot more until they felt right.”
Thematically, the group are coy on the album’s meanings, though what is clear is that subject matters are extremely personal to a tight-knit band who consider each other “family”. What they do give away is somewhat cryptic; the album’s title comes from a gigantic mountain range as big as the Alps that’s hidden under the Antartic’s ice and snow; song titles are a little more illustrative, both in theme and in clues as to the group’s influences. ‘Afon’ is Welsh for river, the group explaining that it “speaks to us of connections and something which eternally changes yet remaining the same at the core”; ‘Only Hollow’ is a tip of the cap to My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Only Shallow’. Then there’s ‘O’, called that because of the shape of the letter, the group using it to represent what they call “a circle of negativity”.
Negativity would suggest a bleakness to this album, and whilst in much of Ghost Mountain’s fire and brimstone there is plenty that could be construed as despair, the abrasion in it suggests something more conflicted; a battle between shades of dark and light, universal but potent battles between love and hate, of hope and loss. When flung together with the power that Thought Forms has, it makes for a quite formidable proposition.