Ghostporn // Dream Songs
Recommended Track: La Bruja
Ghostporn is not a good band name but it’s a good way to describe the kind of music this band play, a substance-less take on dream pop given form only by the wispy recollection of its influences and the technical abilities of its players. There’s an annoying sense throughout their Dream Songs tape that this band would be more interesting if they were more aggressive; however, in convincing themselves that plodding dream pop is the way to go, Ghostporn have fallen into the trap of talented people wasting their time and ours on boring-ass songs that showcase their abilities only in the most limited ways.
There’s no one thing wrong with Dream Songs, more like a lot of little things. It’s generic from the start though the spooky hook on “Dream Song” could maybe find new life in a better tune. Already there’s the niggling feeling that this music wants to be more punk than it can actually be since all rough edges have been sanded down and cloaked in chorus and vibrato. It sounds pretty enough but it detracts from the songs, the hazy effects neutralizing the passion in lead singer T. Trevino’s often fiery lyrics. Sadly, this is about as good as it gets on Dream Songs because while Ghostporn pick up the pace on the latter half on the tape they also totally lose the plot, making strange musical choices that are confusing at best and irritating at worst.
“Tidal” is a slow building burn out jammer ruined by a beat that just drags on and on, topped off by Trevino completely failing to hit her chosen notes during what should be the soaring final 30 seconds of the song. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good bands with lead singers who can’t sing (Aislers Set, Oasis, Rainer Maria, Van Halen) and the kind of music Ghostporn plays doesn’t require a great voice per se—early 90s shoegaze band Lush were so unconfident about their vocals they purposely turned them down on their early records—but Ghostporn are playing it entirely too straight to overlook such imperfections, especially considering the Trevino’s prominent placement in the mix. It’s admirable that she has something to say and wants us to hear it, but dream pop is a genre that favors the voice as instrument rather than as means of communication, and Ghostporn do nothing to reconcile the two approaches.
But back to the slow building burn out jammer. I hope you enjoy this particular song structure because Ghostporn take shameless advantage of its anticipatory quality, deploying it over and over again on Dream Songs. They take entirely too long to get to the most interesting parts of their songs, which are always at the end and always lessened by poor decisions such as Trevino’s cringe-inducing gasps and moans on the final minutes of closing track “Waltz for Venus”. The music itself doesn’t inspire nearly enough enthusiasm to support such fervency, and it’s obnoxious to listen to. When Ghostporn cut loose on (yes, again) the final minute of “La Bruja” it’s at least sort of fun, like a scrappier Raveonettes if you’re being very generous (as this blog was when it deemed Ghostporn’s music akin to “Sinead O’Connor at her finest,” perhaps thee most egregiously insipid and reaching musical comparison I’ve ever read outside of standard PR hackery, and a total insult to Sinead besides.) “La Bruja” also has the added benefit of being supported by the effects rather than strangled in them but it makes no meaningful difference when cliché is the only area this band really excels in.