Feral Ghost

A Gathering Storm

Written by: LF on 08/04/2014 17:29:34

Indie rockers Feral Ghost from London center around lead singer-songwriter/guitarist Danny Warwick, who is also responsible for the naming of the band after a presumed poltergeist began bothering him while he was writing the songs for this radio-friendly debut album.

From start to finish "A Gathering Storm" is filled with catchy hooks and sweet melodies on melancholic backgrounds. Every band-member fills their role in crafting the soothing harmonies, while backing singer/percussionist Chloe Elizabeth Hunter's vocal contributions blend spotlessly with Warwick's. It all comes off a little too smooth though. As stated by the band itself, one of the main aims with this production was to make songs that are able to stand out on radio, and it seems to me that this attitude has had the effect of making the songs both a little too safe and a little too similar in vibe and structure. Most of them are four minutes or longer, and because the tightly knit soundscapes are rarely challenged, not even in the occasional guitar solos, the album ultimately makes me feel like it's just dragging on and on with nothing ever really happening.

A few times something interesting sounds like it's just about to arrive but then ends in the safe release of a cheesy chorus that's too similar to the others on the album. One example of this is the romantic "5 A.M." which starts with a downplayed, positive verse that still has just the right amount of playful guitars and infectious woah-oh pieces to make it stand out from the previous songs and make you pay attention, but then it bursts into a chorus with lines like "This is gonna be the night that we / We prove our love / I can hardly breathe", sung in a disengaged way and at a pace that doesn't facilitate anything like dwelling on genuine, romantic feelings, but rather feels exactly like a somewhat forced and sub-par radio song. Another example is the interesting vocals in the verse of "Who Will Save Me Tonight" with a syncopated rhythm that is intriguing on the backdrop of long guitar-notes, but ultimately just modulates into yet another cheesy chorus.

Despite this I have to admit that it's evidence of some pretty strong hook-writing on the part of Warwick, when I find this album pretty boring but still can't get the single "Gabrielle" out of my head even when I honestly wish I could. The album ender "Wednesday's Child" as well is a well-written ballad that pulls the listener in with is echoing guitars and the personal and troubled lyrics of "Wednesday's child is full of woe / A phrase that I was often told / For a middle son that's just routine / Hardly heard and rarely seen / A child that's in between". If it wasn't number ten of its kind by the time it grazes its listeners ears, I feel like this song would have more weight to it, neatly illustrating the core problem of this record: while I have no problem with the overall sound of Feral Ghost, the songs are too similar and at the same time too safe to really warrant any interest.

Download: Gabrielle, Wednesday's Child
For The Fans Of: Manic Street Preachers, The Bluetones, U2
Listen: facebook.com/FeralGhostOfficial

Release date 08.04.2014
Billberg Entertainment Ltd

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