• David Bentley

The Ghost of Helags – Parallel (single)


Well on the way to their debut album (I’m assuming this is the second track from it, following the recent ‘Chemistry’, which was reviewed in NMR), this time The Ghost of Helags (John Alexander Ericson and Teresa Woischiski) are channelling The Chemical Brothers.


Apparently, while recording in Antibes on the French Mediterranean coast last year (nice work if you can get it!) and preparing a new song partly already inspired by the Chemical Brothers’ ‘Big Beat’ sound they caught an open air gig by that duo and returned to the studio immediately after the show to have another play with the loop they had recorded already and eventually came up with ‘Parallel’.


Having read that I was expecting a heavy Chemical Brothers sound to dominate from start to finishbut actually there’s a flavour of Erasure and The Pet Shop Boys as well, as I hear it. Others sense a touch of La Roux and Robyn. And yes, I suppose they’re all in there somewhere if you want to find them.


What none of those bands and artists have is Teresa Woischiski singing and I suspect (I’m there to be corrected on this) that had they not subjected themselves to chemical warfare at Juan les Pins (didn’t that place feature in Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Where do you go to my lovely’?) the song would have been more in the way of its opening 10 seconds and then again from 1:23 until the booming synths return, especially from 3:34.


I’m not really sure what that huge repetitive sound adds to it. It comes in too early and lasts too long, converts a gentle synth ballad into a harsh dance track more suitable to Amnesia in Ibiza or Saturday night on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. In contrast the beat from 1:55 is just right, just so. As  things stand they’re almost two different songs rolled into one.


Let’s have this right, I’m not criticising it even if it might appear so. I have a lot of time for TGOH and this is a very good song, one I think has a great chance of catching late summer Mediterranean discos if they reopen in time. Perhaps even in Juan les Pins. DJs will be queuing up to play it for sure.


But my favourite TGOH stuff is the gentler ‘Wildest Dreams’, ‘Autobahn Lullaby’ and even ‘Under my skin’, which has a big synth beat too but it seems to complement the song while on this track the giant Godzilla-like one challenges it like a bare knuckle prize fighter.


Teresa observed of the Chemical Brothers show, “It was super inspiring watching these two gentlemen showing everybody how it's done. I suppose what I’m saying is that I trust John and Teresa to know how it’s done as well, previous material has sold that notion to me big style and ideally you wouldn’t let yourself be influenced too much by others, however much you might admire them. But I realise I may be in a small minority in saying that!


We don’t ‘score‘ singles. If we did it would be 8/10. I think the original unadulterated  version could have been 10/10.

‘Parallel’ was released today 24th July on most streaming services.


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