GHOSTS AND LEVIATHANS
London, United Kingdom
Ghosts and leviathans have presented us with a glistening and vibrant new album titled, ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’. The album features electronic sounds paired with a soulful, deep vocal which takes us through problems personal and constitutional. ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’ is a hallmark of modern music design, the album flutters on the fringes of genres, never revealing its true identity in one song. Only by taking in the album as a whole will you be able to define the unique sound of ghosts and leviathans. It is modern and sleek. It takes a back step and introduces piano as the focal point rather than heavy synths or guitars. They do not bring the focus to percussion which is yet another sonic signature that breaks ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’ away from the crowd. Electronic Contemporary Soul Pop, it’s strange, personal and brilliant.
The album varies from track to track. The through line is the vocal performance on each and every song. It reads like Sam Smith but with a lot more going on in the back. It’s middle set and brings a weight to the tracks that would be missed if it was taken away. We are introduced to the vox in the first track on the album, ‘tears in my mouth’ which opens with a 50/50 blend of organic and technological sounds. They mix and swirl into the piano that floods the space and opens the song up for the vocals that fade in smooth and sultry. The song is a great reflection of what is to come. Material instruments break away to digital frills and beeps while the vocal stands strong. ghosts and leviathans play with this formula as the album progresses, adding vocal layers and harmonies as well as conversational frills in songs like, ‘lonely’ which features some of the most melodic synths on the album as it builds into a finishing zenith.
Breaking away from the cool and soft-spoken vibes of the first two tracks is, ‘sorry’ which wastes no time in flanking you with drums in all directions. It's punky and dark and it's a whole new angle for ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’ and it shows that ghosts and leviathans are no one trick pony. The song builds on this divergent technological sound with dark synths and sporadic drums that add so much character to the track. This breaking from the smooth continues on, ‘in my head’. The song is more melodic and layered, an evolution of ‘sorry’ which triggered the cascade of synth, beats and vocal fry filters that we hear throughout ‘in my head’. It goes to show how important not only the songs are as a collective, but also the art of album pacing and placement. If the songs were presented in a roundabout order the sounds changing would feel random. ghosts and leviathans have nailed it on ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’ with ‘games’ following ‘in my head’ by taking it down a notch, keeping the melodic nature but tuning the pace back down to Earth.
The album fires up and parachutes back down. ‘games’ was a shift from fast pace multi-layered instrumentals to a vocal focus and ‘paranoia’ continues that shift. Starting with the vocals and building the song around them, ‘paranoia’ feels more like the beginning than the end. We move to ‘goethe’s nocturne’ which returns us to piano and vocals, duetting in the wind.
The album finishes with ‘peace’. A slow and focused track that collates all that ghosts and leviathans have built throughout ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’. It is the end of the journey, featuring woodwinds and muted percussion, harmonies and filters and that solemn piano ring, ‘peace’ has it all. The album as a whole is a personal musical expression. I feel sorry for those music listeners who no longer take in the whole album, but find a track and take it home with them. Albums are collectives, stories and emotions brought together for a reason. ‘GEEK TRAGEDY’ is a fine example of this, each song is a gem on a crown that is worn by ghosts and leviathans.