Ghostlight - Breathing Underwater

posted 29 Jul 2009, 01:03 by The Editor   [ updated 29 Jul 2009, 01:11 ]

Xtra Mile Recordings

Unobjectionable, safe, polite, normal, harmless, soft, forgettable, pretty, passive, boring, attractive in parts.

These words do a good job of summarising Ghostlight's three track EP "Breathing Underwater". Harmless is perhaps the most effective of these though and while attempting an objective critique of the EP I've found myself going through a variety of emotions, ranging from initial disgust to humorously open minded.

While thinking of comparisons to Ghostlight, and I must confess this kind of pleasant, passable music isn't really my thing, I thought of bands like Coldplay and Athlete. The biggest problem is Al White does not, for all he tries, have the same vocal prowess as Martin of Coldplay does. This isn't to say the band, or White, have failed exactly; they come together to create pleasant melodies and some amiable moments on the EP; but, especially with last song 'Satellites', the band succeed in emulating just another Coldplay song, except less alluring.

The band are made up of four members, and their biggest achievement comes with the EP's opening song, the radio edit of "Breathing Underwater". The plaintive, strummed guitars are accompanied by an effective rhythm section that give the song a good flow, and an almost festive feel when the brass sections kick in. The song is a good opener, which bodes well for the EP, and clear choice for the band's single.

I was almost beginning to enjoy myself when I started paying attention to the lyrics. "What's the point?", "I break my neck trying to leave" and "You're drowning me" certainly do a good job of contrasting the festive feel that the band successfully create. And that's just the first few lines.  As White's moan goes on and on the music becomes surprisingly invasive and ultimately insufferable. This makes me think that this EP is not really supposed to be listened to too closely, but instead played in the background somewhere far away. Maybe in shops or on an E4 programme.

This came as a bit of a disappointment to me. I thought a band called Ghostlight with the EP "Breathing Underwater" might produce something a little darker, spookier or altogether more ambitious. Alas, the 'alternative' label the band have branded themselves with on their Myspace is, well, wrong. There is nothing alternative about this EP at all. When thinking of all my friends and family who might enjoy it, I came back with my Grandma; who by the way, is a big Camera Obscura fan, but Ghostlight come nowhere near to achieving the dizzy heights of melodic beauty that particular alternative band create.

Ghostlight create very little that is actually original, particularly after "Breathing Underwater" dies down. Until they do music lovers will presumably constantly overlook them for bands with more, well, substance. No, this is definitely not a band for substance lovers.

However, unless they have actually drowned, there is hope in my opinion for Ghostlight, as there is definitely an audience for this music somewhere.  As a band, a bit more originality would go a long way for these Cambridge lads, as they have strong potential and a waiting audience.




Pat Lee 

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