Shadows Chasing Ghosts

The Golden Ratio

Written by: BL on 17/12/2010 18:53:13

The current UK post-hardcore scene has always struggled to match the impact that one-time torch bearers of the genre Funeral For A Friend had made before their somewhat decline in later years. It is somewhat strange, with the current crop of bands like Yashin, We Are The Ocean, Deaf Havana and more, all bringing out good music, that we haven't see anybody rise to that super-hype status just yet. Essex five-piece Shadows Chasing Ghosts are another band to come along to try their own take on the challenge it seems with their debut record "The Golden Ratio". It's got a lot of big sing-a-long choruses, your typical screamed verses, a few odd breakdowns for good measure, and finally a few handy guitar tricks along the way - at least that's what you'd all expect right?

The great thing about "The Golden Ratio" is that for those familiar with the style of bands like Yashin, Kenai, Deaf Havana, WATO and co, is that it's an album that is pretty easy to pick up and spin. It's not too heavy to alienate the fans of the poppier sides of said bands, and not too poppy to alienate the fans of the more metallic and heavy sides - sitting fairly comfortably on a fence in the middle. However this does mean that my earlier statement about what to expect from the album becomes a rather bleak and brutally accurate reflection, the album is totally predictable (not to mention the style itself is starting to age). Album opener "Girl In Sheep's Clothing" is exactly how you imagine it to be, fast adrenaline pumped guitar riffs that are catchy yet simple, and a chorus that while you can hum a nice tune to it - is rather forgettable. "You Aint Got The Minerals" and "Searchlights" fare a little better, though the former relies mostly on the clean chorus to make it a bit more unique amongst the breakdowns while the latter is an overall stronger piece with a chorus that actually sticks and stays with you for the whole album - something that can't be said for the following track "S.O.S" which has a chorus that just comes off more as a little annoying and gets in the way of an otherwise decent song.

Following on, "Home" and "Sunlight" are actually are pretty good overall with lots of decent melodies, there are some great hooks, neat rhythm sections and just on the whole the band at their best (that spot in "Sunlight" with the piano and tapped guitar is exquisite). The only thing that takes away from how good they are is probably the fact that you might have heard them before in Yashin's latest album, they sound so similar to tracks off Yashin's "Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them" that aside from the vocals sounding a bit different, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the bands. "Timelines" is a heartfelt acoustic ballad (at least it tries to be), which unfortunately, following the predictable nature of the rest of the album thus far, has very little appeal considering it comes just as the album peaks and you rather keep the action going. "The Recovery" is a pretty good track then to pick up the pace, it has a pretty nifty guitar orientated intro that is simply blistering to keep up with - though things slow down for another fairly 'okay' anthemic chorus.

The album closes on "Thumbelina's Story" and "With The Best Intentions", the former sounding again like a Yashin/Funeral For A Friend hybrid in the intro alone, then turning more or less into the same sort of predictable stuff we got in the first half. The former actually perhaps was written to be a closer in mind, with plenty of gang-chants, and a huge outro chorus of "Hold your head up high, you're a better man now" being repeated over and over - it's good stuff really though perhaps by this point the effect it might have had if you hadn't heard the album up to this point is a little reduced.

So there you have it, "The Golden Ratio" - seems somewhat like a name fitting for a band that has a 'golden ratio' of the things you need to make a UK sounding post-hardcore album. But truthfully, Shadows Chasing Ghosts more or less have put out something worth hearing if you like the bands I've listed, but it's not going to be anything mindblowing because it's so safe. Throw some more ambition in there!


Download: Searchlights, Home, Sunlight
For the fans of: Yashin, Kenai, Funeral For A Friend
Listen: Myspace

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