While on one side of Seattle Fleet Foxes are creating succulent Americana that smells of dew-flecked pine trees and freshly laundered plaid shirts, Holy Ghost Revival are on the other lobbing out star-spangled pop that, by the looks of them, you’d expect to reek of vomit, spontaneous street violence and pushing over grannies. Hell, these guys are allegedly so frickin’ dangerous that they had to relocate from the capital of grungeto the mean streets of south London. Despite all that, HGR aren’t half as scary as they want you to think they are – unless you’re of the school of thought that Queen, Guns N’Roses and Jethro Tull are the pinnacle of evil along with all the other cat crucifying Satanists and possibly The Hoosiers. Put simply, Holy Ghost Revival make glam tunes that owe their Spandexed arses to the musical wastelands of the ’70s and ’80s. Live, it’s a cacophony of sound, a fever that you can’t sweat out and a racket that your mum certainly would not approve of, but on record it’s contained, elegant retro-rock that mother might just give a spin. So far, so The Darkness, but this five-piece have a lot more than just pomp to their circumstance.
Opener ‘The Gospel According To Judas’, with its calls to “rape the day” delivered in Conor Kiley’s falsetto screech in among glitzy soft-rock breakdowns and naughty Elton piano parts, could be a lost track from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It sets the high camp tone perfectly, leading into ‘Green Raised Vein’, which ploughs an old-school rock furrow with a mead-quaffing Merrie Olde England twist that seems more like it was devised at a Lord Of The Rings convention than against the bar of a spit and sawdust dive pub. Their crowning rock opera moment comes in the shape of ‘Arrogant Army’, a Broadway-worthy slice of fairground punk, complete with oompah sax and handclaps, while things only become truly unsettling on the synth-abusing, clattering finale of ‘Wetbrain Bandana’.
‘Empire Skies’ and ‘Rationed Sacrifice’ offer up just two of the album’s many blokeishly emotional ‘November Rain’ moments; proof that they have soppy hearts full of hair metal balladry as well as an Andrew WK-like urge to party until their brains trickle out of their ears. Original Holy Ghost Revival ain’t, but fun they are.