Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Team Ghost @ Soup Kitchen, 11.04.13

Well turned out for a mid-month Thursday in a disappointingly dismal April, Soup Kitchen laid host to the Manchester's Mount Fabric supporting their Parisian counterparts Team Ghost.

A relative stranger to both bands and almost duped by an erroneous set times poster, it was all the more pleasing to see a support band capitalising early on their slot with such poise and confidence. As Mount Fabric's opener came to a ferocious conclusion, with yelping vocals reminiscent of The Faint and a well balanced sucker punch of reverb crashing against the audience, complimentary murmurs could be heard seeping through the crowd.

Throughout their five song set there was a noticeable stylistic shift in their new material, from the typically explosive, driving post-rock of 'Curves and Corners' to latest single 'Heuristic Fits', which lacks quite the same angular nature, ending up like a Horrors B-side, but without the hook.

The tendency to drench the vocals of the new material in layers of effects actually does somewhat of an injustice to the outrageously good, falsetto voice of frontman Alex Marczak, his natural soaring tones having a much more euphoric impact when not distorted beyond recognition. The dreamier, electronic tinged, mid-set tracks were proficient enough, but it was the moody, combustible moments of the finale which brought back the rapturous applause and animated discussion we had first heard amongst the audience.

Team Ghost were swift to follow suit. Buoyed by some home support in the crowd, they rifled through a number of tracks from last year's Dead Film Star EP; psychedelic-pop worn on a synthesized sleeve. Former M83 man Nicolas Fromageau's lyrics full of woe, tragedy and passion, intertwined with Placebo-esque sonic distortions and noisy brooding chords. The songs are tightly bound bringing a visceral, unpretentious alt-pop punch embodied by 'Dead Film Star' itself, but at other times it can come across relentless and draining.

Although the improvised mid-track harmonisations between Nicolas and keyboard player Benoit de Villeneuve showed an intimate relationship and a cocksure confidence and swagger, Fromageau's limited vocal timbre was at times lost in the mix; his dulcet Parisian tones drowned out by those of his arguably stronger fellow musicians with a regularity suggesting this is not accidental.

There is undoubted potential here – the oblique, droning 'Curtains' hurtled towards a wonderfully violent conclusion but it seems that Fromageau and Co are still finding the perfect balance and structure to truly reap the benefits of their respective talents.

Words: Dan Coultas.
Team Ghost photo, top: Emma Le Doyen.

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