Ghostlawns – Ffoi (Sub Records)

Ghostlawns – Ffoi (Sub Records)

Meticulous, moody and atmospheric – Ghostlawns release single Ffoi ahead of debut album Motorik due out at the end of October on Sub Records. Harvey Darrington reviews. 

GhostlawnsArtist: Ghostlawns
Track: Ffoi
Label: Sub Records
Released: 4 September 2020
Find it: Spotify | Bandcamp

It’s a bit uncharacteristic of my writing so far to just dive straight into talking about the sonic quality of music – usually I’ll posture for about half my word count talking about nothing in particular that vaguely links to some overall thematics of the track. But not today, for reasons that will become self-evident. Not with Ffoi (meaning “Flee” in Welsh), the second single from Welsh collective Ghostlawns’ upcoming debut album.

Ffoi is an aurally enveloping composition filled to the brim with waves of moody, atmospheric synthesiser that wash over you as backdrop to echoey ethereal vocals resulting in a wide, ambiguous, psychologically entrancing headspace. All this, kept on track by guitar plucking riffs described as “motoric”, which I’m also using here because I’m not sure there’s a better word in the English language to describe the mechanical, meticulous, and rhythmic repetitions of various elements in the track. Initially, this confident cyclicity is reserved for the guitar, but this track has even more to offer through progressive movements. 

After this ambient, ghostly atmosphere is established, we shift effortlessly to being guided through said atmosphere by similarly industrially clockwork – yet live, not machine based – drumming. The fact that the drums are live strongly underpins these sections with a powerful sense of groove, a driving sense of marching onward but with consistent pace. Ffoi serves to establish routine for itself that lasts just long enough before striding into a new section of near entire familiarity, yet with a novel entity; after one of these live drum segments, the piece transitions back to something solely ambient, fluid – but this time we gain an almost sinister bass prod to offer a transient moment of foreboding and buildup.

The payoff – naturally – is the return of the groove. At the end of the line, Ffoi has its most enjoyable segment to see you out. The live, consistent drumming is back in force to keep your head bobbing, accompanied by a new synth motif lower than the ever unchanging melody, making this portion not only the most fun but the most complete – the constituent parts that have drifted around throughout the song’s enchanting space unify for closure in a highly satisfying and accomplished manner.

Ghostlawns have carefully crafted this track regarding the specific sounds used and the evocative structure of the individual movements and incidentally it seems they agree that “motoric” really is the best descriptor, since the upcoming LP is itself titled “Motorik”. Given that, it seems reasonable to expect plenty more graceful, flowing, krautrock-influenced jams of the same nature right around the corner. And I’m right there for it.

Find Ghostlawns: Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | Bandcamp

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