GHOST – ‘POPESTAR’ EP REVIEW

Ghost
‘Popestar’
(Loma Vista/Rise Above)

It’s FINALLY here! The long awaited and talked about Ep followup to ‘Meliora’!

Now, anyone who has been here on this site probably already knows that a couple of us are big fans of this band. Every new release comes with promises of unique artwork and unique musical arrangements that only Ghost seems to pull off so well.

This is no exception.

The cover alone instills imagery that fits right along their last release “Meliora’. This time with Papa on a pedestal overlooking two giants built into the walls playing, what I might guess is, an eternal game of chess. If that’s not a metaphor about God and Satan, I don’t know what is.

The Ep itself is a short collection of 5 songs. One original and 4 covers. If you haven’t heard “Square Hammer” yet, some will be pleased to hear that this original track by the band brings forth their poppier sound. There’s still the distorted guitars, but the band really lets the keyboards shine through as well as the vocals. I don’t know why, but it reminds me a lot of The Pet Shop Boys’ 80’s material, but heavier and with some OOMPH! To it.

“Nocturnal Me” is a grinding cover of the Echo and The Bunnymen song. It has a lot of the staple ‘Opus Eponymous’ vibe while still being recognizable for what it is.

“I Believe” is a cover from a band I have never heard of. A techno/electronics group known as Simian. Some of you may have heard of them, but not this guy. The song has a much slower paced vibe and is pretty much a very melodic keyboard driven song. I’ve never heard the original, but it fits with the band very well.

If you don’t recognize The Eurythmics’ “Missionary Man” on this cover track, you’ve either been living under a rock, or weren’t born yet. Great chugging guitars and an almost sinister set of vocals from Papa. I could never stand the original, but Ghost takes it over and makes it their own. A nice fresh retake of an 80’s “classic” (as I said, I can’t stand the original).

The last Track, “Bible” is a cover from a little known (in the States) Swedish 80’s band called Imperiet. The best way I could describe this? Think of “He Is” from ‘Meliora’. Now add much more complex melodies and some of Papa’s best vocal work I have heard to date. This song marks the first song that I can truly say that he stretches his voice further than it’s ever been. Proving himself once and for all, a great singer. Sweeping choruses, overdriven power chords and keyboard heaven deluxe. If there is ever a definition of grandiose for a song, this is it – I get goose bumps listening to this song!

Overall, I feel the band has taken this Ep into a very heavy new wave and goth/techno direction. It’s no surprise as the band never seems to be afraid to explore new avenues in what they are playing and are not afraid to let their influences shine for all to see. A must have album that will join the others on my permanent playlist!

– Chris G.

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