Low Sunday Ghost Machine

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Titled by the band's original name, Lowsunday's debut found the group making a surprisingly strong splash for such a young group. The opening notes of "So Far Away" instantly call to mind the rich guitar atmospherics of early-'80s Siouxsie and the Banshees or the Comsat Angels. The sudden shift to huge walls of feedback through layers of digital delay and a pounding beat show the then-quintet can really rock when desired. Sahene's vocals throughout the album instantly betray his debt to the Chameleons' Mark Burgess -- it's not an exact clone, but there are the same general rich tone and definite sense of yearning and ache that make that band so memorable. Reckless' keyboards add a touch of Chameleons elegance as well, but collectively the five-piece looks to synthesize a number of different strands of post-punk U.K. inspiration to create something new. There certainly are worse role models to follow, and while the accusation can be made that Lowsunday's debut was hopelessly retro, by the same token it stands out all the more from the characterless post-grunge sludge that was most American mid-'90s rock. The group isn't all there yet -- generally Sahene and Bechillion's guitars lead the songs with the rhythm section keeping the time then adding flourishes of its own. It's a distinct difference from all the previously mentioned groups, where strong individual drummers like Budgie and John Lever added their own creativity. Still, the moody, sometimes rampaging sound of songs like "The Wanted" and the openly Joy Division-quoting "Overslide" are hard to resist as they are. For a completely independent release, one that earlier times would have termed more a professional demo, Low Sunday Ghost Machine possesses both a strong, full sound and a definite sense of purpose -- this isn't a band vaguely aiming at something, but putting all its strengths together.

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