The third studio album from the Brisbane-based, post-grunge/alt rock revival quartet, Hungry Ghost finds the hard-hitting Aussies adopting a punchier tone while keeping their feet firmly planted somewhere between Screaming Trees, early Smashing Pumpkins, and Mudhoney. Luke Boerdam's sneering vocals aside (which lean more toward emo and pop-punk than they do the seismic, yet always melodious angst of Kurt Cobain), Violent Soho are as committed to their retro sound as ever, churning out a fiery 11-track set that's as spirited as it is redundant, with highlights arriving via the thunderous five-minute opener "Dope Calypso" and the tightly wound "Eightfold," the latter of which manages to break through the flannel barrier with some much needed call and response vocals. Hungry Ghost is at its best when it gets out of its own way, as it does on the easy, decidedly Pavement-esque "OK Cathedral" and the evocative title track, but the band is so intent on honoring its heroes that it manages to negate itself in the process -- the foundation of "Lowbrow" and the Pixies' "This Monkey's Gone to Heaven" are nearly interchangeable. Violent Soho are great at what they do, and Hungry Ghost should appease fans who waited out the four years in between it and its eponymous 2010 predecessor, but there's nothing here that hasn't been done much better and with less intent.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger