Ghum: The Coldest Fire – EP review

Review by Caitlin Webb

The intriguing gloom and grunge of post-punk quartet Ghum has already piqued the interest of many listeners on the scene, as well as the interest of beloved bands they’ve supported on tour like Dream Wife and Muncie Girls. With the momentum of these successes, they’ve garnered a wider audience in time for the release of their gorgeous new EP, given the poetic title The Coldest Fire.

Opening track ‘Saturn’ kicks off the record with a quicker pace than we’re used to from the band, complete with a hard-hitting beat that instantly gets toes tapping. A swirling guitar melody reflective of the song’s celestial title cuts through this texture; it’s a little angular and surprising, which brings intrigue to the track right from its introduction. It establishes its Gothic creds up front with shoegaze-y guitars and lovelorn lyrics delivered in a moody drawl. These vocals stay charismatic throughout, but are often subdued, biding their time until the climactic final chorus where they reach their peak. Fiery intensity builds as the crashing beat becomes almost overwhelming, completely transporting you into their evocative soundscape.

Next is ‘Get Up’, the leadoff single from the EP and another passionate track. Raw, wailing vocals and a title that quite literally commands your attention come together to make what we sense will be a huge crowd-pleaser at live shows. As with the previous track it knows when to hold back, crafting an aura of mystery and a formidable cool permeated by soaring guitar riffs, and when to let the anticipation pay off with a heavy punky breakdown. ‘1000 Men’ builds anticipation in much the same way, with its militaristic beat that marches on before implementing a looser beat in time for a chaotically passionate conclusion.

A little more experimental than previous records but a lot more powerful, ‘The Coldest Fire’ is an atmospheric wonderland all its own. It’s definitely worth catching this EP’s tracks and more live … their 10 October gig in the wilds of Stoke Newington has now sold out, so if you’ve not already bagged yourself that hot ticket you might like to do some forward-planning for their headline show at Electrowerkz on 30 Jan 2020!

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