Wiltshire trio and Invada starlets Thought Forms have, depending on the strength of your predilection for squalling shoegaze and comparable genre stylisation, happened to release their sophomore full-length and their significantly finer of the two, Ghost Mountain, at a time when this form of sonic experimentation is more or less at its peak. It’s their best thus far, though has it been released at the worst possible time? You can’t tap a toe without treading on a pedal at the moment and though they’ve here compiled a compelling, richly textured, and admirably versatile collection, it may never garner the acclaim for which it so rabidly thirsts, purely due to the reality that there are so many other (and objectively speaking, inferior) oeuvres of a similar disposition now out there. Consequently, Ghost Mountain may be made a molehill out of, when in fact it ought conversely to tower triumphant.
Take the tumultuous Ghost Mountain You And Me for instance – a turbulent billow of incisive instrumental, lacerated only momentarily by the gust-like, and irresistibly unintelligible sighs of Charlie Romijn. It’s as though the soughing of trees swamped by an oily gloaming and as a forest kept under the cover of darkness, it’s one of eight we can but fear the world at large is never to hear. There’s then the ominous squiggling of Sans Soleil that cuts and thrusts violently to the record’s standout riff. Caked in a demonic tone of reverb, it’s genuinely petrifying as Romijn magics a venomous vocal caught midway between a slur and a snarl, that makes her out to be a scruffy rebirth of a certain Courtney Love. It’s a comparison to recur on the taut breakneck jolt of Only Hollow – the album’s shortest, and indeed sharpest instance. Clean and cutting as a Buñuel blade, it provides the album’s fifth scintillating listen in as many tracks. Whether that be the distortedly agitated ruination of opener Landing, or the inglorious swells and jittering scratches of Burn Me Clean – replete with malevolent spurts of snaking hulusi and monotonous spectral moans, it’s as though a sewer dwelling CocoRosie baying impatiently for blood beneath the manhole covers of a savaged post-apocalyptic dystopia – Ghost Mountain is a wearying, if ultimately thoroughly rewarding experience time after time. The latter may initially appear unassailable, as it smoulders adagio; lugubriously to the point of coming across queerly funereal, though as it envelopes itself in yet more deathly obstreperousness in the closing moments Thought Forms reach the apex of their combined potential, and wreak a sublime kind of havoc.
In the shadow of all that aforesaid tumult resides the dolorous plod of Afon – a languid, if still melancholy antidote to the otherwise unabatingly leaden, which recalls PJ Harvey’s White Chalk crumbled into the essentially morose back catalogue of Codeine. Though as with any analgesic effect, it soon wears off for the tremendous pumping of Song For Junko – equal parts dulled gloom and shimmering bright – to strut its astonishingly poised stuff across another exhausting seven-minute sprawl, before they haul the proverbial prominence down with the cataclysmic, and supremely destructive crescendoing of O, that’s as though Dinosaur Jr. torn antediluvian limb from antediluvian limb by the vile blows of Guy Metcalfe and the visceral lumberjack slashes of Deej Dhariwal.
Thus not far short of immaculate, Ghost Mountain is the sound of a band now fully formed who, having been cocooned in their exploratory ways for far too long, have tardily metamorphosed into the real deal. And, moreover, irrespective of the stampeding stomp boxes of this particular coordinate in time, theirs may yet be now.
Released: February 25th, 2013 [Invada]