Ghostlawns : Motorik30.10.2020 : Sub Records
Working with Charlie Francis (REM, Robyn Hitchcock), Ghostlawns have conjured a potent debut album from an addictive mix of propulsive live drums, driving bass lines, spirited guitar and moon-luminous keyboard breaks. Blank vocals in English and Welsh atmospherically edge the LP's shifting moods.
With no hesitation, Ghostlawns' aim is set immediately by the hard-drummed insistent synth rush of opener Breaking Out. If that song's mesmeric rhythm hooks you into the band's alternate reality, then the lightly dancing keyboard melody of instrumental Guppy will confirm that there is little reason to leave it.
The highlight of the nine song set comes when a sparkling guitar line leads into the majestic, gyroscopic flight of Y Gorwel. The flickering groove of Ffoi (released as a single) is another standout moment, but it is the kaleidoscope of colour burnt through the entire album that makes this such a strong record.
Motorik is the compelling soundtrack to a lost, fast-paced dystopian sci-fi classic. As the muscians sweep through starlit alien edgelands, their music creates imagined worlds from swirling, animated sonic energy.
Perhaps this mastery of ambience should have been expected. Ghostlawns have deep links to some of Wales' most exciting musical projects - with members playing with Right Hand Left Hand, Gulp, Gentle Good, Cotton Wolf, and with Can legend Damo Suzuki, on stages across the UK, Europe and the US.
Motorik reminds you of the electrifying spark from the albums you fell in love with when you first discovered music, placing Ghostlawns suddenly at the leading edge of a decade long wave of Welsh underground pop genius. And, although it is a resolutely Welsh album, you can forget any geographic qualifiers when judging it - this is one of the most vital and dymanic debuts released this year.
GHOSTLAWNS I Motorik