To Repel Ghosts by HowlessRelease date: February 18, 2022
Label: Static Blooms Records
Howless is a noise pop project from Mexico City whose sound has shadings of dream pop and shoegaze and even a bit of post-punk. No matter how you categorise them, you will quickly recognise the quality of their song craft on this debut album.
Lead off track ‘Fade Out’ could be a dance floor anthem. It is zippy synth pop with a rhythmic dark haze. The first single ‘Levels’ is terrific, twinkling indie pop with a bit of New Order finesse and nice harmonies. ‘Rain and Ice’ is the second single, and sounds like a different band altogether. Despite the gloomy miasma, the angelic vocals really lift this tune above the cloud layer.
‘Unlucky’ is yet another single, and this bright, cheery composition will lift anyone who is down in the dumps. Vocalist Dominique Sanchez really has a lovely voice, perfectly in sync with the group’s brand of beautiful noise. ‘To Repel Ghost’ creeps up on you, marrying a spidery texture to a solid indie rock melody. ‘Shadow Blind’ unfurls in a slow wave, with shimmering vocals lying atop a heavenly instrumental layer. The song takes off at the three quarter mark with blissful harmony and melody and it really soars. ‘Color Mess’ veers back to the dance floor, and mesmerises you with some pretty electronica.
The final ‘People Walk Away’ was inspired by a fragment of poetry by Pascal. It references the question of our place on the planet and the dark emotion of saying farewell to someone who is still very much in your thoughts. I think with all that we have endured over the past two years, this song is a timely reflection of what many are going through.
In summary, this is a lovely record from a talented new group. I hope they are with us for many years if this record is evidence of what they are capable of. Highly recommended!