Monolith Cocktail

He’s at it again, hyperbolic praise alert. Following his adulated declaration of love (and of course professional jealousy!) for Ty Segall‘s recent return, Sean Bw Parker now goes overboard on San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls. We can safely assume that both will be in his and our top picks of the year next month. 

Cool Ghouls   ‘A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye’ (Empty Cellar Records)    11th  November 2014

Regular readers may remember my gushing unapologetic hyperbole over the new Ty Segall album earlier in the year – well it’s about to happen again. I realise I often bang on about naff band monikers, and yes San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls get it too…just about shoehorned into the so-bad-it’s-good, don’t-take-it-too-seriously box. Put the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Arctic Monkeys and Cool Ghouls on a festival bill together, and a visiting Venusian may decide not to bother invading after all – a silly species.

Such aesthetic frivolity aside, A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye (what a beautiful image that is) is a very fine record indeed. Retro with a purpose and a passion, the Ghouls exploit their city’s hippy history with unabashed glee; The Eagles, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Byrds and Grateful Dead party on in brown corduroy along with Kings of Leon, Stephen Malkmus’ The Jicks and Mick Jagger sulking in the kitchen.

Early Dandy Warhols would be the closest touch point though. Courtney Taylor’s joyful apathy in vocal delivery and unaffected, open strummed electric guitar is spread slapdash all over the recording, with the early Stones insouciance revelling through the grooves. Opener ‘And It Grows’ slaps you back into a hammock with a long cold beer and a smoke of your choice, and the album never slips from there. The three-part harmonies are sexy-impeccable, every ode to relaxing and having a good time delivered with a secret intelligence belying the give-a-shit demeanour.

The pure twang and thrum, the echoey, recorded-in-the-corner-of-a-barn vocals, and the overriding feeling that the summer will never end reverberates around ASFBTTR – and frankly they need never make another record. Some need no ‘development’ or ‘progress’ – just tour the hell out of it then split up. Not before making a follow up with Ty Segall though…hey, whaddya say?


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