Ghosts on TV Finland (ft Francis North) - 'Entropy' (Live Album)
Hopefully regular readers will remember Ghosts on TV, they're a band I often reference and they even had the dubious privilege of 'winning' the Nordic Music Review 'Album of the Year' in 2020. Since then I've tried to work out a plan to see them perform live, but been thwarted by Covid restrictions, the 'day job' and other inevitable complications.
Most recently I'd noticed some particularly interesting looking gigs combined with a poet named Francis North, and clearly aware that I was unable to attend following knee surgery, they've now generously released the entire live performance. It was the poet himself who approached Ghosts on TV about the project after seeing then live, with the band writing the entire musical accompaniment in just 3 days before the gig - I remember starting a masters dissertation frighteningly late, but never that late.
Anyway how British poet Francis North came to be watching Ghosts on TV in the 1st place isn’t clear, but I can conclude that he clearly has an impressive taste in music, or alternatively in music blogs that point him in the right direction.
‘Entropy’ starts with Francis North himself: "The man came today…. (Pause)…. And told me it was time”. It sets the scene for opening track ‘The Prophet’, before they really get going with 'Prophecies and Weapons' (there's a lot of prophesying) which opens with Ghosts on TV demonstrating their post-rock spirit, and Francis North's always interesting poetry - “words are prophecies at best, wars are worse”.
‘The Curtain’ is certainly epic, and the sustained instrumental section allows the band to open up and show their bigger guitar sound (there are 3 of them after all), whilst ‘The Sound of Something Falling’ is possibly my favourite, with the band and poet in perfect alignment, and the words particularly telling: 'The difference between a prophet and a man is a line drawn in sand or water....and the difference between a revolution and a mutiny is whether you hear the sound of something falling'.
They finish with 'The Wave', an inspiring almost euphoric track which inevitably ends with the band taking over and showcasing their melodic guitar driven sound, crescendoing to the type of climax we saw in 'I'm Not Dead, I am 55 Today'. It's a perfect ending.
So what’s not to like. Well I realise that some might be put off by the poetry, the post rock, the combination of poetry and post rock, and by the fact that on paper at least this sounds a little heavy going. But it isn’t. True, sometimes the rhetoric sounds like a pre-battle speech in Game of Thrones ('Tomorrow'), and sometimes the words are delivered so quickly that I slightly struggle to follow the point (‘The Curtain’). But that probably shows I’m really engaged in what Francis North has to say, and throughout he delivers his words in such a compelling way, thought provoking as well as creating powerful images, whilst the impressive thing musically is that the band know when to play the atmospheric supporting role, and know when to take over in full post rock mode.
Nordic Music Review Live Album of 2022? Well it'll be only one I probably write about, but this is as good as it gets.
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