Hrsta
Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes
2007
B



hrsta’s Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes is what nightmares are made of. Aside from the disc’s eerie moniker, the album is filled with the kind of foreboding, brooding, and downright horrifying compositions you’d imagine float through the minds of children and make them reluctant to close their eyes at night.

Stemming from the perpetual Constellation Records’ incest, Hrsta’s fronted by Godspeed You! Black Emperor guitarist Mike Moya. As such, you can imagine the sort of moods Ghosts invokes: an overwhelming sense of angst, empty yearning, hopelessness. But surprisingly, Moya is able do what Godspeed and their many spin-offs have been unable to for many years now. Hrsta is able to function within the post-rock formula, but finds enough wiggle room to fit into the mold while releasing something that, unexpectedly, sounds unique and apart from the label’s mainstays.

Ghosts sees the blending of the ambience, vocal musings, and melancholy that seemed to have become stagnant and unimaginative on similar releases. After the spine chilling “Entre la Mer et L'eau Douce” and hopelessly tragic “Beau Village,” “The Orchard” defines the sense of longing that permeates the entirety of the album. Hrsta manages to create tension that drifts through you, leaving you feeling as though you’ve missed something. And when they should finally give you what you desire, the spacey, cumulous “Tomorrow Winter Comes” hangs ominously without remedy. Shortly thereafter, Moya’s gentle croons on “Haunted Pluckley” sound more mocking than comforting as they soon give way to a feedback medley and fade to black.

Hrsta isn’t afraid to open to floodgates though. As restrained as the majority of Ghosts is, it occasionally overflows with the crescendos the genre has become known for: The calm drones on “Hechicero del Bosque” combust into a blaze of shrieking leads and pounding basslines. “Kotori” builds exponentially until it fizzles into random distortion.

For as powerful as Ghosts ultimately is, without close attention, it passes rather nonchalantly. Because even though it sounds more original and intriguing than most of its fellow releases, the genre as a whole seems to follow near identical trends, making each disc mostly unremarkable. Even Hrsta is unable to completely avoid this pitfall. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the painfully anti-climactic closer “Holiday.” As Moya lazily chants “Oh you’re a holiday / Such a holiday” the track recalls the more monotonous moments of the genre. By highlighting Moya’s vocals and lyrics rather than the monumental instrumentation, the track passes without notice, leading an album of incredible tension to a close that doesn’t resolve a bit of it.

If this is what can be expected of Constellation in the future, however, things are looking up. Ghosts comes as a release and therapeutic solvent for a label that has been regarded as a one-trick pony. With a release schedule that boasts albums from fellow sonic adventurers Sandro Perri and Vic Chestnutt, that tide is surely starting to change. So while it sounds like a nightmare, this disc is more the album we’ve all been waiting to hear.



Reviewed by: Chris Gaerig
Reviewed on: 2007-09-26
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