EP Review – Somewhere on the Other Side (2022) (Self released)

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Don’t get me wrong, I am as lazy as the next amateur, blog hack, music journo. As such, much to the chagrin of my never shy mate, Don Valentine, from the brilliant I Don’t Hear A Single blog, I am just as prone to throwing in terms such as “bangers”, “sophomore”, “Beatles-esque” as the next micro-blog writer.
One I do baulk at though, is using the term “criminally underrated”. Not just because pissing around at the back of my English class as a schoolboy, means I can never remember whether there should be a hypen between the two r’s, but also because the sheer logic of it all suggest it can be in no way a criminal activity to underrate (under-rate?) any act…No doubt Don agrees.
However, ‘If’ I was to use such a term, then perhaps one of the few acts who might just justify it, is this Ghost Mail project of Texan, Rudi Castillo, whose immense talent never threatens to be diluted by the ravenous sense of prolific, he has dispalyed over the last 3-4 years.
His most endearing talent is his absolute ability to produce immense, spellbinding beauty, out of the most sparse and minimalistic of inputs. As such, tracks like I’m Stuck and Cottagecore see him almost casually lift his guitar and drift out the most fragile of acoustic guitar-pop, whilst somehow still managing to capture melody and an inimitable sense cool, from the lowest of lo-fi bedroom-pop production.
Somewhere on the other Side does get more vibrant, but it is an extra energy irradiated by contrasting riffs rather than any urgency to really elaborate upon extra tempo. Here Puppy Love, I’m Stuck and the superlative, closing standout, Dance With Me, twist isolated jangled riffs, through perfectly off-kilter dulcet jangle-gaze and dense rumbling basslines, whereas Falling Down takes the vibrancy still further, with Gushh style gaze meets surf-pop machinations.
Over the last 3-4 years some of Ghost Mails works, especially the goregous Chord Organ Tapes releases, have been among the most treasured in my collection and this album never threatens to break that status quo.

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