Music review – Pastel Ghost’s “Ethereality” a splendid new release

photo by Chad Kamenshine

Listening to Pastel Ghost’sEthereality” the follow up album to 2015’s “Abyss”, one noticeable change between the two is the new release’s removal or – at the very least – the minimal use of dark bass-like organs and trance synths which wavers between dark electronic and witch house. It has gained her a decent following with Crystal Castles and Salem fans while simultaneously maintaining a modest level of her ethereal offerings.  Melding a gritty vibe, “Abyss” eagerly embraced the dance floor longing to mix it up with the decades list of gothic, industrial, ebm, dark wave, synth wave and other past, present and future related spin offs.  In the spectrum of it all, it surely belongs albeit slightly more sinister and moving than early Cocteau Twins and Siouxsie and the Banshees, slightly more ominous than your 2000s synth pop but at times can sound organic compared to futurepop especially from Europe.

Ethereality” at face value seems to discard most of it.  Okay attitude wise, ‘3NDL3SS’ with its title is a reminder to the witch house fans and with the accompanying video she hasnt changed one bit.  That said and perhaps why i’m giving this a favorable review, about the entire album emits this cornucopia of whispered recollection only to be drifting and soaring in its bittersweet bliss…a major component missing from her debut.  Songs like ‘Iris’, ‘Emotion’, ‘3NDL3SS’, ‘Underwater’ and the album track epitomize this.  To be fair, its nothing really extraordinary but anytime i’m reminded of Single Gun Theory,  Delerium (especially with Kristy Thirsk), Opus III and other ambient dance music it will not be ignored.  That said, face value reviewed, the grit isn’t totally abandoned and her voice is honest to its debut so in that sense she’s still the same, just shaking off a superfluous blanket of dark sounds no matter how it belonged on the dance floor.  That said, when its not pushing those boundaries mentioned above, tracks like “Mercury” and “Amethyst” are enjoyable tracks with indietronica influences for fans of synth pop bands like Cut Copy, with the latter track unashamedly lathered in a mixture of seraph harmony and despondent pondering.  “Tears” is satisfying in its noir impression, while moderately paced under synth and dream pop influences.

Pastel Ghost’s second album is rewarding overall, a collection of tracks worthy of the dance floor, yet a soundtrack to feel pensive for.  I sense the hypnagogia of this decade and a revival at the same time with this release, probably more of the latter because there’s very little experiment of the experiment.   I’m also trying to avoid the future  direction and to emphasize the album’s possible importance somewhere when reflected on.  I think i’ve mentioned twice how much i have favored this album.  If you dont get it the third time.  Well you know three strikes….

Prior to this, she recorded a remake of  “When You Sleep” by My Bloody Valentine.  Check it out below.