Kill Shelter, Yes!
With the rhythm section of J Church and the frontman of Riverboat Gamblers in their ranks, Ghost Knife already have a jumpstart on most pop-punk bands. But what becomes apparent only a couple of songs into Kill Shelter, Yes!, their debut album, is that the recently formed trio might just make us forget they made names for themselves in other bands.
Of course, guitarist/vocalist Mike Wiebe is still going strong with the Gamblers and his other project, High Tension Wires, but it’s nice to hear bassist Ben “Snakepit” White and drummer Chris Pfeffer together again after the dissolution of J Church, a notoriously prolific pop-punk band who ceased to be upon the passing of frontman Lance Hahn in 2007. Ghost Knife’s “Frustrated Maths,” for instance, sounds like a long-lost Bay Area pop-punk anthem, right up there with Green Day’s “Welcome To Paradise,” all dangerous and pounding in a sweaty all-ages club, but definitely more refined and grounded. Everything on Kill Shelter, Yes! has that relaxed, collating-zines-in-the-jam-room type of feel, right down to the slacker-esque lyrics and DIY recording sound. And who said melodic pop-punk didn’t age well?
Wiebe has said that Ghost Knife is his take on indie rock, an ode to Pixies, the Raveonettes and the like, and we totally know what he’s getting at (a song called “Pixiedust” might be the first tip-off). But this is also a punk record, through and through. Ghost Knife’s songs are bursting with jangly chords, impassioned harmonizing and playful bass lines, not to mention those amazing drum fills from Pfeffer (ex-Severed Head Of State, but you’d never guess here); just like J Church were all about that same kind of uncompromising melodic pop-punk. Somewhere, somehow, Lance Hahn is smiling right now.
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