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Warm Ghost
Uncut Diamond
Partisan/Geographic North
www.warmghost.com


Uncut Diamond is nothing shy of a truly accurate title. There is a rough beauty to this album that may be hard for some to uncover, but Paul Duncan has done something on the same level as Grizzly Bear and Bear In Heaven yet again. With the help of Oliver Chapoy, a long time friend of Duncan's, Warm Ghost creates an electronic treat that sounds almost like samples from Bladerunner mixed with The Breakfast Club soundtrack. Each song skates around the labels of chill wave, goth rock, synth pop, and even shoegazer. They manage to tie it all together in a very lo-fi but pleasing textural landscape. There are obviously over-treated synths and guitars buried in every nook and cranny of almost every track. The beauty lies in the sharp pierces that cut through and the buried melodies that you can't always hear on laptop speakers or cheap headphones. Parts of the album seem to be reminiscent of the production values found at Trident Studios with on David Bowie's Low and, to a lesser degree, Station To Station.

Uncut Diamond has six tracks that are all elaborate and effect-laden. However, each one seems to offer a little bit of something different than the next. "Claws Overhead" may be the most accessible track on the album with its 80's dark-pop appeal and very soothing vocal line. "Let My Angst Unfold In The Water Like A Hound's Tongue" reminds us how talented these guys really are. It teeters on the edge of scary and contains sounds similar to things only found on Zaireeka while keeping a very calm groove and closing with an almost funk-influenced pitch-shifted vocal monologue. Other tracks like "Open Your Wormhole" and "Resignation Rights" continue to experiment with this dynamic and push their limits but keep it safe and enjoyable. The album comes in at a shade under half an hour which makes this album all the more approachable and less threatening to people less familiar with music of similar styles. Warm Ghost use those 30 minutes to display their deep knowledge of sound as well as near psychedelic intentions while supplying the washed out textural fix that most audio junkies crave.

-brad knain

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