REVIEW - Feral Ghost - 'Speed Of Light' (Album)
The second album, 'Speed Of Light', from London's melodic rock band Feral Ghost comes seven years after their debut, 2014's 'A Storm Gathering', and by all accounts hasn't been without its challenges in recording and releasing; but now it's finally here has certainly been worth the wait. Couched in a smooth pop-rock sheen, 'Speed Of Light' boasts accomplished songwriting (courtesy of Danny Warwick), superb musicianship, lush, sophisticated arrangements and, best of all, glorious layered vocal harmonies. While Fleetwood Mac pops up quite a bit in references to Feral Ghost, it's really only those vocal harmonies that bear any great relation to Nicks, McVie and Co. The songs here are deceptively varied, with vibrant, catchy pop, AOR, folky and Americana tinges and even a little prog a la Porcupine Tree and Pineapple Thief all lurking in the mix of these twelve fine tracks.
The album comes rollicking in with the fantastic 'Roll The Dice', a bouncy, impossibly catchy tune complete with bar-room piano, courtesy of Lisanne Otten, the first of a number of choruses designed to lodge in your head and a real good-time feel. 'It's Been A Long Time My Friend', follows on with its laid back West Coast feel and echoes of folk and Americana, before the band show off their pop smarts with 'The Lighthouse' and the title track, with its 'ba-ba-ba' vocal interludes and brisk energetic chorus. Placed in the middle of the album, the following three tracks are the emotional centrepiece of the record and shows the band at its best. 'Love Will Find A Way' is reminiscent of late period Floyd (replete with a Gilmouresque guitar solo and pretty piano fills) and leads into the sombre early verses of 'The Mirror' which features the vocals of percussionist Chloe Hunter, and is haunting and atmospheric before rising up into a soaring full-on track with a synth-like solo, pounding drums and pleasing fuzzy guitars. At 6:20 'Invisible' bears its sad lyrics in a stately manner and has yet more soaring guitar interludes, strong keyboard work and emotive vocals that pulls at the heartstrings. It's a superb track and has all the band's strengths rolled into one song.
The rocky 'Say It's Not Too Late' once again emphasis the Mac vocal harmonies (and does sound a little like 'Go Your Own Way!') and has another belting chorus and a real 'driving down the highway, wind in your hair feel' - an AOR radio staple if ever there was one. The record finishes with four slower, ballad like tracks - 'My Sanctuary', 'Watch The World Go By', 'Without A Trace' and 'Here We Go Again' - all beautifully played and sung and continues the fine songwriting found throughout the album.
'Speed Of Light' is a fine record and pretty much every track is radio-friendly with its polished production, lovely vocals, tight musicianship and commercial pop-rock vibes. Go on, 'Roll The Dice' and give this album a listen!
Feral Ghost are Danny Warwick (Vocals / Guitar), Chloe Hunter (Vocals / Percussion), Andy Watt (Guitar), Lisanne Otten (Keyboards), Marino Donati (Bass) and Paul Castleman (Drums)
'Speed Of Light' is available on all the major digital sites.