Album Review: Holiday Ghosts - 'West Bay Playroom'


West Bay Playroom – primitive, fun and intelligent.

Holiday Ghosts may be the most fun, joyous and bizarre band I’ve heard in a long time. They take influence from old school 50s/60s rock n’ roll but update it with their own modern twist. Think of The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers and with Beach Boys harmonies.

But it isn’t boring or mindless fun. Holiday Ghosts approach their songs with poetic and melodic intelligence, much like Lou Reed would have done. You can hear this on ‘Stuck Here’ – a classic rock n’ roll track that wouldn’t go amiss off The Velvet Underground & Nico album. Furthermore, their musical ability and sense of musicality is inspiring. Lead single ‘Booksmart’ is an Ennio Morricone soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie, and ‘Cobra’ is a snakey and groovy interlude that serves as an intermission between each side of the album. These guys can really play and set the mood. 

And there is a constant hint throughout West Bay Playroom of the bizarre and slightly surreal, reminiscent of Pixies. This is most obvious on ‘Slipstream’. The catchy guitar riff with the vocal lines is not dissimilar to ‘Here Comes Your Man’. Other stand out tracks include ‘B.S. Porsche’ – a modern take on The Stone’s riff for ‘The Last Time’ combined with Lux Interior’s (The Cramps) vocals without the fuzz; and ‘Take Heed’ could have been a Ramones song, from the pop vocals to the fierce use of power chord riffing.

If you have the winter blues and are just waiting for the summer to come around again, get yourself a copy of West Bay Playroom. It’ll take you there immediately and get you dancing on the tables.

Words by Matthew Brocklehurst

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