The aptly titled Future Is Dead is the sophomore EP from the Sheffield-based art-rock outfit New Ghost, a collaborative supergroup of some of the brightest stars in the UK alternative scene. The three-track art piece was recorded, mixed and co-produced by Tom Henthorn and presents a batch of cinematic treasures, full to the brim with atmosphere, emotion and destined to soundtrack the most dramatic moments of your life.
Founder Chris Anderson states, “There’s a definite through-line on Future Is Dead thematically, but there didn’t need to be the same level of cohesion of sympathetic frequencies. Each moment here was intended to stand on its own and be presented as its own monument”. He’s not wrong. The tracks fit effortlessly together as one complete tapestry of immense melodrama and yet survive individually as powerful moments, conjuring up their unique world of pronounced gravitas. The overall sound of the EP is astounding, with a lavish production that is only elevated by exquisite performances and a passion to create heartfelt and triumphant sonic environments.
The first track on the EP is Your Reds; a fantastic piece of emotive and dramatic post-rock that will surely leave you clamouring for more. Bringing a Deftones vibe immediately, this song is the perfect introduction to New Ghost’s world. Its vast scope and cinematic vision is signalled by distorted and disjointed guitar and met with lush instrumentation. The sound is enormous, yet delicate vocals float over the top. With ever-changing guitar melodies, the track builds and builds and is spurred on by powerful drums, while the chorus is filled with such sorrow from the vocals that it will stay with you long after the needle is lifted. The final section of the song is a feast of harmonies, rolling drums and feedback, which provides a great segue into the next track.
The second song, Fountain, keeps the sound fresh with an introductory synth beat and soon gives way to a more ambient tone. The same fragile vocals are present but duetted, giving remembrance to a Velvet Underground style of delivery. Melody rundowns and wailing guitars are added gradually throughout the track to keep it vibrant.
The final track, Every River, signals a change, opting to drop the airy, dreamy feel for a more straight alt-rock sound. However, there is still a smattering of delay and reverb for good measure that maintains the gigantic tone, as the punctuating drums and rumbling bass back a haunting and deranged guitar, further amplified by ghostly harmonies. Futuristic synths and wall to wall guitars engulf the experience and expand, before reverting to a stripped-down affair. With a grand piano melody, it transitions into an onslaught of thunder, dissonance and victory. Matching and surpassing the brevity of the previous songs, the ending is a fitting one for the EP and finishes everything off with dramatic flair.
Future Is Dead is a phenomenal effort by New Ghost. All the tracks are beautifully constructed and produced, sounding consistent, yet staunch with originality. The cinematic vision is a giant mammoth, crammed full of powerful moments that still feel personal and tailored to the listener. This is art-rock at its most courageous.