One of the perks of writing for an online publication such as Arctic Drones is the sheer amount of quality music that I am exposed to on a weekly basis. Often times I will enjoy many of the releases that get shared by the editor-in-chief, but once in a while something truly special comes along that sends shivers down my neck or has me floating away to another world entirely. High Plaine by Ghost Box Orchestra is one of these very special releases. Ghost Box Orchestra are a 5-piece group hailing from Boston, Massachusetts and they are Jeremy Lassetter on vocals and guitar, Nazli Rex on keys, percussion and vocals, Chris Johnson on guitar, Martin Rex behind the drums and Zac McGowan on bass duties.
RELEASE DATE: 17 May 2016 LABEL: Evil Hoodoo
Psychedelic rock is the name of the game for Ghost Box Orchestra, and boy do they play that game well. The band brings together trippy and reverb soaked guitar melodies, along with otherworldly vocals, for an experience that can only be described as riding a horse through the harsh and arid plains of the American Old West while tripping on something a bit stronger than your standard LSD. Impressively, the album never falters, not for one second. One of the reasons for this is how every track blends together making the experience a truly singular one; a 43-minute pilgrimage through a dusty, sun-baked expansion of one’s own consciousness. That’s not to say there aren’t any standout tracks though.
“Flutter”, the album opener, sounds absolutely massive with swirling guitars and keys sucking you in from the very first notes, and hard kicking bass and drums keeping things rolling along all the way to the song’s end. “Socrates Burned” is some kind of kaleidoscopic monstrosity, snarling and clawing its way through the track’s entirety, and worthy of a place in the soundtrack of the Apocalypse. “Wave Goodbye” incorporates hypnotic vocals and allows the dust to settle from the previous madness of “Socrates Burned”, and will have the hairs on your arms standing in little to no time. “Within Sound” grooves extremely hard, to the point where you cannot help but close your eyes, bop along to the rhythm and allow the bass to rattle the insides of your skull. “Causality Orchestra” ends this trippy desert journey on a cathartic note, with fuzzed out and drone-like guitars enveloping the listener in a warm embrace of colour.
The year 2016 seems to be a fantastic one for music. I have lost count as to the number of high quality releases that I have had the pleasure of listening to this year. High Plaine counts among those releases. The writing is tight, the production value is top-notch and the album simply oozes tons of atmosphere. Ghost Box Orchestra will have all listeners yearning to return to the dusty plains time and time again.