The Ghosts of California Acoustic, Rock David Galas The chronicles of a working man is what Galas is moving through on his third solo album, you can feel the weariness and taste the bitter resignation of perpetually dull employment. This time out he's made a very direct record replete with some of the best choruses I've yet heard out of him. The overall song structures and embellishments are much more developed as this is a much more straight forward outing, acoustic guitars play a bigger role and then there are the words... they don't give in to escapism but moreover pull open the eyes of the listener to reveal a very very bleak world view. Life is hard, or so I hear a lot of people say but Galas doesn't spout slogans nor does he hammer the point home of what the state of things is these days. He doesn't have to. Venture outside your door and you'll nod your head slowly, knowingly. What does it matter if you get all you want out of your life materially, you can have all the money and power this place contains but if your heart is empty then no amount will ever fill that void. Keeping up appearances is not what this guy is about in his work and if the rip-roaring guitars of a song like the title track do not bring out the butterflies then you have no business listening to this. The coda contains some of the prettiest playing I have heard since the days when the Church brought down the house with their masterpiece "Priest = Aura" in 1992. Much like that release, this is a languid and relaxed artist going through what he sees and has seen throughout his career. If you have managed to hear his previous album, "The Happiest Days of My Life" then I'm happy to report that his love of SWANS has been pushed to the back of the bus on "The Ghosts of California". The seething screams of guitars running amok is not to be found on here, everything is quite regimented but never in a dull or predictable way. His penchant for dropping tempos and then creeping towards explosively dynamic resolutions remains, however. The angriest acoustically based album I have yet heard, it even beat out "Henry's Dream" by the Bad Seeds. It's like having your soul ground down into dust between two great milling stones. Meticulously they move in a deliberately slow fashion but the end result is the same regardless of who or where you are: grim realizations of a society which rewards incompetence and promotes mediocrity. There's nothing fanciful about how David's latest is arranged or laid out and if a song like "Suffering" is how he's feeling about his surroundings in 2011 then keep your head down because the forcefulness he unleashes is like a helicopter blade tearing through bodies without regard. The restrained meditation "My Struggle" arrives hot on its heels with beautifully sparse despair on prominent display, look deeper and you'll remember that you've had thoughts like this before, you just couldn't note it down so elegantly. But ask yourself, would you really want this kind of ability? A lot of what's going on with Galas' latest I suspect began as simply progressions on acoustic guitar which then were built up and augmented in the studio. He's more like a traveling minstrel on the mercurial Morricone tinged "Last Call". His advice is simple yet cutting: hold down your eyes again as the world falls apart. The bridge work is anchored by a delicious series of chords and what sounds like a dissonant trumpet in the background calling home the downtrodden and those who have surrendered to complete and utter despair. A barren place populated by regrets and recriminations, the eyes of a million hopeful children put out by the branding irons of the prestigious and the powerful. Here we grope blindly in a haze of bloodied spite and angrily curse under our breath at the lot we've been given. Yet for all the shit heaped upon we who toil in obscurity there are records like this which pinpoint with frightening accuracy the lies and delusions people desperately cling to in order for their own pathetic lives to have some kind of meaning as they tear each other apart in the crow's nest of a sinking ship. 550
Brutal Resonance

David Galas - The Ghosts of California

9.0
"Amazing"
Spotify
Released off label 2011
The chronicles of a working man is what Galas is moving through on his third solo album, you can feel the weariness and taste the bitter resignation of perpetually dull employment. This time out he's made a very direct record replete with some of the best choruses I've yet heard out of him. The overall song structures and embellishments are much more developed as this is a much more straight forward outing, acoustic guitars play a bigger role and then there are the words... they don't give in to escapism but moreover pull open the eyes of the listener to reveal a very very bleak world view. Life is hard, or so I hear a lot of people say but Galas doesn't spout slogans nor does he hammer the point home of what the state of things is these days.

He doesn't have to. Venture outside your door and you'll nod your head slowly, knowingly.

What does it matter if you get all you want out of your life materially, you can have all the money and power this place contains but if your heart is empty then no amount will ever fill that void. Keeping up appearances is not what this guy is about in his work and if the rip-roaring guitars of a song like the title track do not bring out the butterflies then you have no business listening to this. The coda contains some of the prettiest playing I have heard since the days when the Church brought down the house with their masterpiece "Priest = Aura" in 1992. Much like that release, this is a languid and relaxed artist going through what he sees and has seen throughout his career. If you have managed to hear his previous album, "The Happiest Days of My Life" then I'm happy to report that his love of SWANS has been pushed to the back of the bus on "The Ghosts of California". The seething screams of guitars running amok is not to be found on here, everything is quite regimented but never in a dull or predictable way. His penchant for dropping tempos and then creeping towards explosively dynamic resolutions remains, however. The angriest acoustically based album I have yet heard, it even beat out "Henry's Dream" by the Bad Seeds.

It's like having your soul ground down into dust between two great milling stones. Meticulously they move in a deliberately slow fashion but the end result is the same regardless of who or where you are: grim realizations of a society which rewards incompetence and promotes mediocrity. There's nothing fanciful about how David's latest is arranged or laid out and if a song like "Suffering" is how he's feeling about his surroundings in 2011 then keep your head down because the forcefulness he unleashes is like a helicopter blade tearing through bodies without regard. The restrained meditation "My Struggle" arrives hot on its heels with beautifully sparse despair on prominent display, look deeper and you'll remember that you've had thoughts like this before, you just couldn't note it down so elegantly. But ask yourself, would you really want this kind of ability? A lot of what's going on with Galas' latest I suspect began as simply progressions on acoustic guitar which then were built up and augmented in the studio.

He's more like a traveling minstrel on the mercurial Morricone tinged "Last Call". His advice is simple yet cutting: hold down your eyes again as the world falls apart. The bridge work is anchored by a delicious series of chords and what sounds like a dissonant trumpet in the background calling home the downtrodden and those who have surrendered to complete and utter despair.

A barren place populated by regrets and recriminations, the eyes of a million hopeful children put out by the branding irons of the prestigious and the powerful. Here we grope blindly in a haze of bloodied spite and angrily curse under our breath at the lot we've been given. Yet for all the shit heaped upon we who toil in obscurity there are records like this which pinpoint with frightening accuracy the lies and delusions people desperately cling to in order for their own pathetic lives to have some kind of meaning as they tear each other apart in the crow's nest of a sinking ship.
Nov 14 2011

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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