May 27, 2014 - InVogue
This melodic hardcore band from New York is sitting on a wealth of great musical ideas, and even though they only hint at what they're capable of on this debut, it's still a great listen. The five-piece play what appears at first to be a fairly straight-ahead, new-school take on old-school hardcore. With the barked vocals and speedy tempos, it's pit friendly and would work well opening for a band like Terror or Trapped Under Ice at the local community center gym. However, "Trade Winds" and "Trails" are wonderful quiet interludes that show the band indeed has a sense of dynamics, and a maturity that is pleasantly surprising.
The album's greatest moment comes late, and shows off those dynamics and that sense of maturity wonderfully: In the penultimate song, "Hour Glass," the listener gets a break from the otherwise monotonous vocals with some quick secondary singing that's scratchier and higher register, which goes with the tune's surprising mid-’90s midwest emo influence well (an influence also felt in the creative guitar work in "The Deserter"). But the rub is that these melodic vocals are not good-cop/bad-cop stuff, and we're thankful for that. It's a more sincere, honest approach, and it complements the main vocals (which are done well, but threaten to tire) perfectly. It only lasts a few seconds, but if that is where Until We Are Ghosts are heading, we can't wait to join them.
The title track closes things off with more excellent songwriting dynamics, and shows how the band also sets themselves apart with fun, intricate guitar work that isn't normally found in hardcore. The album's mix is odd but loveable, with the bass loud and proud, damn near pulling the songs along with its prominence, giving this a bit of a noise-rock feel to it at times (see "Repression"). Hopefully Until We Are Ghosts play to their many unique strengths even more next time.