Ghost//Signals - Lives Defined By Winter Skies (Swiss Dark Nights Records)

Ghost//Signals – Lives Defined By Winter Skies (Swiss Dark Nights Records)

The reflection-path signal that produces a ghost image on a television receiver. Also known as echo”. A Ghost Signal. This is there debut LP after several years of drip feeding singles and gathering an ever increasing fan-base.

There is a searing intensity to everything Ghost//Signals do, the deep emotion in Rick’s vocals, the keys are high in the mix creating an ethereal echo across every track. Reverb is heavy but it is a necessary atmospheric weight that is essential to the overall sound of the record. The echo.

The closest contemporary comparison to these ears is Boy Kill Boy, who had a No.17 hit single with ‘Suzie’ and No.16 album Civilian in 2006, although they were more of an indie pop band with chart hit aspirations. Ghost//Signals are doing this because it is a necessity and cathartic, heart not so much on sleeve as beating out of their chest.

I Beat My Demons via Decision’ fires out of the blocks as all great album openers should, with a high tempo blast of goth pop that has an 80’s synth reverb with a spinning wheel rhythm.

If Emo isn’t a dirty word then Ghost//Signals have taken all the best of the U.S side of the genre and could easily sell it back to them with a slice of British Goth for dessert. ‘Hectoring’ perhaps has more of the British version, with You Me at Six being a touchstone for more of the pop sensibilities but with enough Noir Pop to make it interesting and a hook laden chorus that will stay in your brain as you get nagged to death by your significant other.

Start Families:Avoid Shit Parties‘ is one of the best song titles of the year, but was in fact released as their first single several years ago as ‘Hip Parties‘ to help get radio airplay. Which worked as it’s a pop-tastic hit in the making. As are a large number of these tracks. ‘Bag for Death’ and ‘English Fiction’ that close out a barnstorming Side A, both wouldn’t have been out of place on a Club NME playlist from the mid 00’s, which may make it sound like it’s missed the boat but is in fact a refreshing slap in the face for some of the alternative scene that is getting too bogged down in post punk and too clever for its own good, twelve minute Prog wig-outs.

‘Kill The North‘ does have a Tears For Fears feel, from the emotive lower range vocals, rumbling bass and percussion and floaty keys, it also has a unifying call to arms attitude that the 80’s hitmakers had.

Trauma Trauma Trauma‘ is a rare slight misstep. The guitar riff feels a little clunky and and the refrain of “Trauma Trauma…..” is a little crowbarred in, but the middle eight to end breaks down into a piano and subtle synth with strings and is a brilliant surprise and deviation that leads into the penultimate track, ‘Leave Your Scars‘ to Rot beautifully which has a nod to Duran Duran.

Final epic closer ‘Lives Defined By Winter Skies‘ is the perfect slow burner finale you’d expect and would probably be disappointed if we didn’t get. Frontman Rick Lanning hasn’t been shy in talking about his mental health issues, and the lyrical content contains a number of metaphors about depression and anxiety, not least on the final track, the winter skies being the dark, gloomy fug that covers you like a blanket when at your lowest and unable to function.

This is deeply emotional and thought provoking debut LP from Ghost//Signals, one which anyone can relate to and empathise with that has so much heart and melody it lingers long in your soul and your mind. Quite an opening statement.


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.