Ghosts on TV - ‘I Am Not Dead, I Am 55 Today’ (album)
We found out yesterday that Finnish post rock band ‘Ghosts on TV’ had signed to Helsinki label Soliti, and it was a reminder that although we wrote about their 2020 single release ‘Lost in Translation’, we hadn’t managed to get to their new album, which was released last month.
Intriguingly titled ‘I Am Not Dead, I Am 55 Today’, it’s a sprawling 39 minute long release divided into just 3 tracks, which are helpfully called ‘I Am Not Dead Part 1’, ‘I Am Not Dead Part 2’ and ‘I Am 55 Today’, the kind of idea that only a post rock could get away with. Really it’s just one track.
I’ve been listening to 6 piece Ghosts on TV for a few years now, I’ve always liked the sound that these guys make, but have commented previously that the vocals don’t always seem to fit in quite so naturally. Here they scrap the notion of those vocals completely, and instead we’re treated to a vast, complex, mesmerising instrumental wall of sound, and it suits them perfectly.
‘I Am Not Dead‘ is a huge statement, and such a development from previous releases that I almost don’t know where it came from. Opening with a hypnotic guitar pattern, it slowly builds to an intense pulsating fusion of instruments after (only) 4 minutes, whilst the ‘racket’ they make at 13 minutes is as mind blowing as I’ve heard from almost any post rock outfit recently. They head out of Part 1 with a sense of fear hanging over the track, and that menace remains for the opening 5 minutes of Part 2 with an extraordinary mix of sounds, before it explodes into life with rhythmic drumming seamlessly blending in with guitar, and then a blissful melodic full instrumental section, which evolves, shifts and crescendoes again to one final goosebump inducing climax, and then in a flash it’s all gone. Mind-blowing and utterly beautiful.
‘I Am 55 Today’ is described as an outro, but is a soothing palette cleanser to the intensity of I Am Not Dead, more stately in pace, guitar effects resonating and repeating phrases, post rock meeting classical minimalist composition. But in truth i’m listening whilst still trying to comprehend what I’ve just heard in the main act.
I could listen to this ‘album’ all day – in fact I think I just have. ‘Ghosts on TV’ have delivered ’I Am Not Dead, I Am 55 Today’ with such conviction, such authority and such a lack of compromise that they’ve not only re-invented themselves, but thrown themselves right alongside some of the best post rock bands in the world in the process. It’s a startling achievement, and I have a feeling this is just the start.
Nordic Music Review 9 / 10