Building on the quirky character introduced last year by debut ‘Ten Thousand Words On’, Ghouls have wasted no time in producing a new tantalising release. Adding extra tracks to October’s ‘Great Expectations EP’, the mini-album ‘Great Expectations II’ showcases the London quintet’s fresh approach to pop punk. Trombone and saxophone at the ready, they took to dismantling all expectations of a monotonous genre to incorporate quite possibly the happiest wind instruments and create a hybrid worth shaking the scene for.
A bitter yet contagious anthem, the title track sets the scene for the rest of the album, offset by a contrastingly good-spirited melodious sax. “Nice to see you, to see you go,” snaps vocalist Benedict Goold through the scorned ‘Nice To Know You’, maintaining consistent punk nonchalance alongside tricky guitars and a not-so-subtle reference to Bruce Forsyth.
Typical reflections of school rebellion and time wasted with friends flow through ‘Gone Fishing’, kick-starting the heart of the genre’s humble nostalgic roots. Just when it seems impossible to exude character through bleak punk disillusionment, ‘Being Me’ presents a quirky lament of the life of a musician today. In their own self-deprecating words, “I might not play Reading, I might not play Leeds, but at least I’ll have the memories of the things we did.”
But that’s the way life goes, as ‘Better And Then Some’ states, with its energetic get-up-and-go instrumentals striking a great contradiction to Goold’s subdued vocals. Closing on the stripped-back ode to post-breakup friction ‘Acting Adult’, traditionally flawed punk vocals play out a swansong to the ultimate punk conflict – “at 23 years old, I can’t start acting adult.”
Energetic, passionate and hell-bent on producing entertaining tracks from start to finish, Ghouls have prized open a wonderfully new realm of pop punk, perhaps even jazz punk, that will stand them in good stead for years to come.
’Great Expectations II’ by Ghouls is out now.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)