By Ezra Morris
Gross Ghost, a high-energy lo-fi trio from Raleigh, NC, take a decidedly raw spin on the kind of trial and error experimentation that drives the storied Research Triangle. vitaminwater shot a sweat-soaked, needle buried in the red Gross Ghost performance at the Cave in Chapel Hill, an incubator for musicians coming out of the Triangle for over 40 years.
Much like how fellow North Carolinians the Love Language came about from a home recording project that took on a life of its own, Gross Ghost was born from a series of all night basement jam sessions laid down on ancient tape machines for eventual tinkering and transformation. The nascent demos were passed back and forth between guitarist Mike Dillon and bassist William “Tre” Acklen, where they mutated and matured with every volley and return to eventually blossom into the early Gross Ghost sound.
The occasional tropical tinges of Gross Ghost are splashes of sunshine over a frame that is heavily indebted to the night-time-is-the-right-time cool codified by the Velvet Underground blueprint. Like Dum Dum Girls and Thee Oh Sees, Gross Ghost bring a spirited perspective to a time-tested approach. Wicked Game, their newest EP, displays a surprising range for a band still in the process of exploring the outer reaches of their sound. Amid Spacemen 3-style production, there are touches of jazzy interludes that seamlessly segue into the Margaritaville-vibes by way of the Smell popularized by Abe Vigoda’s earliest output. When the jagged strings come in on “Tenements,” the meditative closer, it certifies Gross Ghost’s ability to channel the timeless haunting pre-dawn comedown moments Lou Reed crystallized into mixtape staples still lingering on two generations later. Their ability to explore so many sounds and craft them into a coherent whole puts Gross Ghost in good company.
Mike Dillon, Tre Acklen
Griptapes, Diggup Tapes
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