A Mouthful Of Gold
As much as I enjoy the continual barrage of musical output from Sydney, there really aren't enough surprises. In fact, it is easy to group the majority of the bands that regularly play in this town into a handful of predefined categories and easily trace their objectives. Most of the time the band's goals focus around riding on the back of the new "hot" sound that has been re-invented by some recently successful local act who more than likely stole it straight out of their parents' record collection. Yes, I know - bitter.
Thankfully (for my own sanity at least) there are bands like Ghoul who, although without a purposeful aim to sound unusual, are powered by their originality.
If I was forced to pinpoint the style of this band I would say that they are basically the musical equivalent of Frank Sinatra discovering beautifully sloppy high school punk rock. It's soulful and harmonious, yet built over a clanging of minimal rhythms and an almost limitless array of organic and avant-garde arrangements. The band not only wear their obvious soul and punk rock influences with pride but also unashamedly smash the two conflicting styles together to create a sound that not only comes off as genuine but also void of a lone reference point.
Even the structure of A Mouthful Of Gold bucks the trend of a debut release. Featuring nine tracks and running for just a touch over 19 minutes it features a handful of sub-three minute songs, glued together by a series of short musical intermissions. The two standout tracks - Serbian and Swimming Pool - pack in the perfect blend of pop catchiness and emotional determination, leaving a lasting impression on the listener even though they are over before they even seem to have begun.
This is a fantastic EP/mini-album, not only because it is refreshingly original in it's approach but also because it highlights the fact that the music of this city is not baron of creative freedom just yet. These guys have no restrictions on where they can take their sound next and that is surely the most exciting thing about them.
Disclosure: Ghoul member Ivan has previously contributed to Polaroids of Androids, but was not involved in the reviewing of this EP.