It's the politically incorrect stance to take, but I am pro-pigeonholing - in theory, anyway. An inbox with colour coded labels is one to be revered and emulated. Sadly, I've never found myself with the patience or tenacity to go much beyond multi-hued stars for emails that I will remember to have a look at one year down the line.
Similarly, the Dewey Decimal System, washing machine settings, actual pigeonholes, and rubbish bins, all serve to demonstrate the triumph of segregation. Catalogue your life. Label your experiences. Consider the science and the religion that tell us that the grandest complexities are just larger manifestations of the simplest event. Consider how psychology has reduced an endless continuum of human experience to six basic emotions.
Consider how much I rely on labels to make my job easier.
Bloody Thought Forms.
Ghost Mountain is an album so musically ambiguous, it is impossible stow it away under a conveniently selected all-encompassing genre. Which is actually a Good Thing because no one likes to be labelled (nor should they be), but, conversely, everyone loves speaking in labels. If it weren't for genres we'd be forced to validate Roland Barthes' snide observation that music criticism is simply the scattered 'poorest of linguistic categories: the adjective'.
Adjectives, adverbs, and descriptors in general are horrific (see what I did there?). As a rule, they tend to take more away from a statement, than contribute. Today, out of sheer necessity, we find ourselves reduced to this. We have to grudgingly accept that the insufferable wanker is correct.
You win, Barthes.
Quick - how do you pronounce 'Comic Sans'? Do you sniffle out the 'sans' so it's saw'h and not 'sands'? Of course not - and neither do Thought Forms when they drawl out 'saaaaaaaaaaaans soleil' on a convincing no-wave/Sonic Youth homage that leaves you doubting the lads' origins - Wiltshire.
In the starkest of contrasts, 'Landing' is a doom-drone number so weighty, it has its own orbital field. 'Saaaaaaaaaaaaay/Saaaaaaaaaaay/Where you/gooooooooooooooo" it demands. "I don't/knoooooooooooow" it concedes. "SAAAAAAAAAAAAY/WHERE YOU GOOOOOOOOOOO/OOOOOOOOOO" it roars. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA" it laments. And then 'Ghost Mountain You and Me' comes on with a naïve little jangle-bop opening, layers of reverb, and candyfloss vocals so sweet, you'd swear it was someone else who'd been berating you just a track ago.
'Only Hollow' is a tribute to My Bloody Valentine in name alone - a pleasant little thing in its own right, it features steady, warm fuzz, and well-worn vocals, that are incomparable to anything on Loveless. 'Afon', right after it, is a sleepy fellow, unpromisingly blinking and stretching itself awake, only to ultimately lapse and roll back under the covers. Meanwhile, 'O' is the track you enter REM sleep to, gently worming its way into the crevices of your brain, infecting your dreams, and lulling you into a state of calm lucidity - which is totally bogus because five minutes in, it inexplicably morphs into a cranky, temperamental noise epic.
Despite the diversity, a black sheep peeks out of of the album in the form of 12 minute saga 'Burn Me Clean'. Volcanic sacrifice? Beachside offering? Spiritual ascendance? It could be anything. Coming back to labels: no-wave, drone, shoegaze, lo-fi, post-metal - the something-for-everyone Ghost Mountain is difficult not to like. But that’s also the reason it’s difficult to love.
7Radhika Takru's Score