Release Date: Jun 24, 2013
Record label: Sways Records
The delight is tangible. Ghost Outfit sing and they play and they must move and live as if they are experiencing every emotion, every moment of truth or fact of life for the very first time. There is no sadness, no misery, no anger, guilt or regret. If there is sadness, misery, anger, guilt or regret, it is relished.
Ghost Outfit is the moniker of Manchester-based duo Jack Hardman and Mike Benson – not that you’d actually guess that they were a duo if you dived straight into I Want You To Destroy Me without knowing a thing about them. The noise they make would be more suited to a five-piece band. It’s also a noise that really shouldn’t work as well as it does.
Once a novelty, the guitar-and-drums duo has became so commonplace, you can actually parcel these bands into subgenres. It’s easy to see the appeal, as the inherent limitations of this setup can inspire bands to push themselves in ways that power trios might not-- in the case of Japandroids, stripping to the barest instrumentation allows the most direct connection to the audience, whereas No Age attempt to uncover the maximum textural possibilities within their boundaries. A band like Dodos focuses on the rhythmic qualities of acoustic instruments, while the Black Keys and White Stripes subvert roots music with their respective idiosyncrasies.
These Manchester shoegaze punks are “self-confessed maximalists”, which sounds more like a boast than a confession, but nevertheless zooms in on a noteworthy element of Ghost Outfit. There are only two of them, but the cloudy clatter of this debut album envelops you in a manner you’d more readily associate with bands of greater number. Is there really no bass on these 11 tracks? There’s certainly enough rhythmic throb to compensate.
Dear Guitar, I hope you don't mind me writing to you. There's this kid... or young man – what do you call somebody in their early 20s with a quasi-Biblical/D.H Lawrence-like beard? What's the new terminology for such people? I'm not sure. I'll opt for fella and not hold the beard - the chin-rug - against Jack Hardman.