Photographer: Phil Intile.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Michael Wilkinson ; Bryan Nicol ; Maurizio Chiumento .
Rising from an urban swamp of reverb, echo, and twanging guitars, Vancouver's Dead Ghosts are one garage punk band who seem to understand the raw sounds of both past and present, and they have less interest in letting loose with clouds of fuzz and paisley swagger than in creating a sonic atmosphere that's cool and evocative as the music slinks through the run-down teen dance hall of your mind. On their third album, 2015's Love and Death and All the Rest, Dead Ghosts ease back on the rockabilly undertow of their early sides and instead summon up a tone that recalls the lo-fi majesty of Lou Reed's pre-Velvets trash rock singles (check out "Cycle Annie" by the Beachnuts or "Sneaky Pete" by the Primitives for the sake of comparison), coupled with a smart punk rock vibe that most strongly manifests itself in the articulate sneer of Bryan Nichol's vocals. Nichol and Drew Wilkinson's guitar work is bracingly primitive but suits the rugged melodies of these tunes just fine, giving the material a psychedelic undertow without sounding the least bit hippie-ish, while bassist Maurizio "Moe" Chiumento and drummer Mike Wilkinson give this a churning bottom end that keeps this music rolling forward down an endless road into the night. Love and Death and All the Rest rocks hard enough, but with a touch that doesn't crush but nudges the music along, and Dead Ghosts manage the rare feat of sounding passionate and subtle at the same time. Wilkinson's production is just clean enough to let the details show, but with enough basement-bound murk to let this band's greasy side shine, and it's nice to know the group is finally working with technology that allows them to drop a reverse-gear guitar solo into "All in a Row." Love and Death and All the Rest is the best recorded showcase yet for Dead Ghosts' garage-psych tincture, and a refreshing wave of guitar-driven troublemaking that will please lo-fi obsessives of various stripes. ~ Mark Deming