I’m going to come straight out and say it, I’m a sucker for violins in rock music. There is something about the way it sweeps and washes when most other musical weapons of choice in the rock band arsenal, crunch and chop, beat and pulse. It is sultry and classy at the same time. If the saxophone is the instrument that adds the sex appeal to jazz and blues, it is the violin that adds that same sensual quality to rock music. In a toss up between gratuitous sax or sensual violins, I’ll take the latter every time.
It has been used to great effect in the past but not as often as I would have liked. Obvious examples are the windswept beauty of classic era New Model Army and on a personal level few did it better than SkyBurnsRed, a band who sadly made it on to too few people’s radars. But Love Ghost also seem more than aware of this potential and so I already have one foot in the door when it comes to their music.
Nowhere is a song of contrasts, the aforementioned strings coil around jagged guitar riffs, grunged out white noise and tumultuous back beats, sadly it is used only to add sweeping minor detail and often gets lost in the musical maelstrom but I am happy to put that down to production as the bass is also often missing in action. I guess they need to think of the violin less as a creator of musical motifs and instead a lead instrument. But that’s cool, they are young, they have nothing but time. The song is also a contrast on an existential level, an anthem to being lost in a big world, of wanting everything and of not knowing where to start, of waiting for life to begin in earnest and of not knowing how to usher it in.
The word I keep coming back to here is potential. Not being patronising, nope, not for one moment, on the strength of this one track I would say that they are already far ahead of the pack in most ways, not just for their age but in the grand scheme of things. They understand that you can’t keep churning out the same sounds and present the same limited ideas and imagery like a bunch of classic rock goons, but that things have to move on. And whilst their sound is a love letter to 90’s alternative rock and grunge it also addresses the notion of where rock goes next. And where it goes sounds like a place I want to follow.
They already understand dynamics and the emotive quality of certain sounds, that power and impact doesn’t just come from volume and intensity but from contrast and atmosphere. Of course like any rock band it is about putting the hours in, relentless touring and with hard work, skill and a fair wind they will write that one song that they need to get noticed. And believe me when that happens it could blow up big. Very big. And I, for one, can’t wait to see it happen.