This debut EP from the Kent-based trio, Tiny Ghost, is a triumph; an absolute pleasure from start to finish and one of the best EPs I’ve heard in many, many years. For all its grit and discord, Vex is beautiful, charming and evocative; these are kind of songs people should listen to when drinking cheap cider and falling in love.
I guess the catch-all label for Tiny Ghost’s sound would be “Lo Fi” or “No Wave”; there’s lots of weird effects/beats, injections of filthy riffs and all kinds of distortion. But the songs are also infused with a melodic pop-groove that elevates the band into a higher level, echoing elements of The Fall, Swell Maps, Pavement, Soccer Team, Sebadoh, Slint, and more contemporary UK bands like Best of British Suicide, UPCDownC, and The Hyena Kill. Their sound is possibly best exemplified on the wonderful “Transit”; while it starts delicately, by the end it sounds like a jack-hammer; the thoughtful lyrics are delivered in way which manages to blend sardonic drawl, sing-a-long melody and corrosive chanting.
Tiny Ghost sound totally at ease with themselves; they’re not afraid to sing sweetly, use reverb and vocal overdubs, or allow easy-on-the-ear pop hooks to stand alone, particularly on “Dark History”. While there are explosions of distortion, there’s also intricate guitar solos – especially on “Playing Possum” – and the judicious use of discordance accentuates the sweetness of the vocals and the delicacy of the musicianship. The lyrics also evidence this duality, with the more overtly political “Slaughterhouse” and “Parking in the City” – ‘The corporations teach us there’s no need to give a fuck’ – contrasting with the evocative story told in “Transit”.
The band are deeply involved in Kent’s growing DIY scene, putting on gigs with Hot Salvation Records, while drummer Kerry Smith edits the excellent new “Boo! Zine”. They’ll be playing at good old Poco Loco on the 11th December with Medway’s own Exoskeletons and Kill RPNZL. Whether you can make the gig or not, buy this EP; it’s an investment in joy…