The music of Holiday Ghosts is ramshackle and rough, the sort of thing that owes as many debts to the first wave of American punk as it does to C86. The group's new record, West Bay Playroom, is out on Friday on the fine PNKSLM label and it is a fun thing, the sort of record that reminds listeners like me that the kids these days have studied the best records from the past.
West Bay Playroom is the band's second LP, and there's been a line-up change since the first release, with drummer Katja Rackin and guitarist Sam Stacpoole remaining, as they are joined by Ryan Cleave on bass and Charlie Fairbairn on guitar. The four-piece makes music that, on "B.S. Porsche", for example, sounds a bit like The Kinks circa 1965, while on a number like, say, "Thinking Of You", one thinks of band's like Look Blue Go Purple thanks to Katja's turn on the vocals on this one. Holiday Ghosts can turn things on a dime, and for every cut here that nods in the direction of a worthy forebear like Talulah Gosh ("Stuck Here", for instance), there's likely another that blends bits of Velvet Underground up with a dash of early Go-Betweens ("The Dodger" or "Human Race").
Something like "Just A Feeling" sounds a whole lot like the sort of thing Robert Forster would have written in 1985, and like the tunes of his old band, lots of the songs by Holiday Ghosts here reveal their influences easily even as the resulting music sounds utterly unique and unlike anything else in the marketplace at the moment. That embrace of their inspirations makes the compositions of Holiday Ghosts cohesive and propulsive things, and it's what makes West Bay Playroom such a fun record.
More information on Holiday Ghosts via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Johnny Griffiths / PNKSLM promo pic]