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Ghum – Bitter (Everything Sucks Music)

There is something incongruous about the type of post-punk, noir pop that Ghum create and the heat wave baking the United Kingdom on the release date for this record, where it is hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement and preferable to using the gas or electric that now requires re-mortgaging to afford.

However, these particular purveyors of gothic architectured guitar pop are far flung individuals. Mediterranean, sun-tinged vocals, Latino enhanced bass, cold, dark London streets and a communal love for the likes of The Cure, The Pixies and Joy Division/New Order.

But to restrict them to the “post-punk-ghost-grunge” tag they label themselves with would do them a disservice.

Whilst, their ethnicity doesn’t define them, the bilingual lyrics add to the intrigue and mystery of the dark alleys they traverse on this record. Certainly, the rhythm section has more of a groove than your average post punk band, and the riffs and hooks from Jojo on guitar seem so familiar you must have heard them before and yet the only answer you come to is, Ghum, such is the earworm that the singles that have preceded the LP create.

At 9 tracks, Bitter doesn’t outstay its welcome, but neither is it short, it is just right. Laura Guerrero Loro is an engaging frontperson and this still manages to come through on record, her vocals are intense and theatrical, like she is trying to burst through the speakers at you. She sings because her life depends on it, like all the best singers.

‘Some People’ is a cracking opening gambit, a visceral devastating riff that slaps you awake; this is Ghum. Laura’s vocals twists around rumbling, angry bass and the dexterous fingers of JoJo’s flying hooks. Arguably the best thing they have done so far.

There is something about ‘Deceiver’ that could make you think this was by Fontaines DC, the slow guitar in the verse flowing around the throttling bass and rapid drums. This track perfectly illustrates the way Spanish and English lyrics intertwine seamlessly and with striking effect.

‘Bad Brain’ has that morning after the night before, slightly dizzy and dazed feel, a cyclical rhythm adding to the confused state.

The riff running through ‘Bitter’ come out like it’s Bloc Party’s ‘Helicopter’ but then disappears off round a different corner. Vicki’s toms feel like they are trying to reach out and batter your eardrums.

Laura’s lyrics come across as very personal, intimate and without doubt there’s a catharsis to her writing which breaks out into pain when she sings in her native language.

‘Rivers’ is exactly the kind of brooding, slow burning, epic closer that this record needs (and all records for that matter). From the immediate repetitive, slow riff you know it’s going to be a steady build to an apocalyptic conclusion; and it doesn’t disappoint.

A number of bands are ploughing the post-punk furrow but you feel like there is something special about Ghum. Extra ingredients that set them apart. They lurk in the shadows of the goth oeuvre but there’s a heat and emotion that’ll break the coldest of hearts.

Ghum – Bitter (Everything Sucks Music)
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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.