Cool Ghouls
Animal Races [LP; Empty Cellar]

Cool Ghouls, sorta like Black Lips, are one of those bands with multiple songwriters that somehow, despite the prevalence of cooks in the kitchen, doesn’t suck. Animal Races is their third LP for Empty Cellar, and I’ll admit it doesn’t explode into melodic bliss like that first one did. But a slow start (that’s often the case, I find, with rock bands these days, which is sad when you realize how much quality work often gets buried in the back of the tracklist) quickly turns into an aberration as these five fresh fellows (plus Kelley Stoltz on midi guitar/percussion, which is pretty cool) fluff up their jangly riffs and spiffy vocal phrasing with a verve that suggests, three albums in, Coo-Ghou cease to be a collection of egos in favor of a motherbrain feeding off five thriving sources. I can’t even say that I favor any of the three songwriters over the others, with Pat McDonald, Ryan Wong, and Pat Thomas each pitching in tracks that belong in these competitive Animal Races. Some of the harmonies stray into Fleet Foxes territory, but is that maybe just a way, at this point, of saying they’re beautiful? Chew on that, u fux. And while you’re at it gnaw on “Sundial” and tell me it doesn’t ring a bit like us younger hippies assume the 60s tasted… Yeah, there are signs all over portending of dread and death/destruction/dumbfounding decision-making, yet, if you tune into these tunes closely enough, you’ll find a weight has been lifted. They’re the coolest of the ghouliest, to be sure. Until next time, keep those torches burnin’, San Franciscans!

Links: Empty Cellar


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