Music is passion. It is fire and splendour and vital, visceral life. It lives and breathes and sings out the joys and heartbreaks of humanity and it rages against whatever passing establishment happens to fall into its firing line. At its finest, it seethes and it surges and it wrenches its bleeding heart out of its breathless chest at the pain and passion of love, hate and a raft of gleaming emotions. And yet a legion of foppish folk halfwits and squarely market-led rockers would have listeners believe it is a tool for blandness and sanitisation, there to be marketed rather than lived. Thankfully, that view is one that Ghost Outfit would happily throw flaming over the horizon.
I Want You To Destroy Me is as bristling a statement of intent as any debut album could hope to be, an eleven-song ode to the unending glory of life sung large. Unchained and a little unhinged, it flatly refuses to be pigeonholed and stretches its tendrils across the dancefloor, the mosh pit and the introspective emptiness of a lonely bedsit with effortless ease.
It is all the more impressive when you realise it is savagely beaten and broken into place by just two sets of hands. Between Michael Benson’s drums and Jack Hardman’s guitar and vocals, it packs a punch heavier than most bands can manage with triple the number of members.
Opening with the alley-fight love song of Too Soon, it twists and tangles and beats its naked skin with a devastating ferocity that leaves any witness breathless and grinning in the most manic of fashions.
Not that it is all bluster. What truly marks it out from the pack is that the fire in the album’s belly comes tempered by a genuine tenderness, a combination brilliantly shown on What You’ve Got, which blows a flailing riff around an angry work-through of heartbreak, and on the oceans-deep despairing onslaught of Sleep’s tenderness.
They are far from the only highlights. Indeed its diametric charms are almost endless as it loves and hates its way through peak after peak, pausing for an occasional yelping crescendo on that holds the heart and the throat before crashing onwards with a headstrong heartfelt mix of noise and melody.
The wave crests and culminates on the closing Kids, a brain-meltingly epic reach of a tune that hugs with gloriously anthemic charms while kidney-punching with a brutal precision. As a peak of the rollicking ride before it, it is exacting, leaving a bundle of tears and joy and a wish for the whole thing to begin again.
The desires of Ghost Outfit are writ through the almost jarring honesty of their debut. Theirs is not a quest to sell records or headline festivals, though I Want You To Destroy Me suggests they have in them the potential to do both. Theirs is a mission to touch hearts, push muscles, thrill minds and it is one which, across a soaring collection of eclectic and ecstatic songs, they have fulfilled with staggering success.
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