There’s a bit of a buzz about Nicolas Fromageau’s Parisian three-piece Team Ghost as they follow the electro-shoegaze trail blazed by Fromageau’s previous band M83 and further honed by the likes of Crystal Castles, and, more minimally (and successfully), The xx.
And while the Team Ghost manifesto refers to “a star-eyed boy not content with the idea of following the latest trend”, the band inevitably trade on their figurehead’s former glories. The problem with that is that M83 in their days as a duo exuded a Marmite-style love-’em-or-hate-’em quality, often lurching from sublime soundscapes to indigestible white noise, all of which renders You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me EP a rather ironic title.
Fromageau, however – together with bandmates Christophe Guerin and Jean-Philippe Talaga – appears to have moved palatability up his list of priorities. Given the EP format’s utility as a hype-generating tool, its reduced length affording even the most infertile artists a chance to exhibit all killer, no filler, he’s going about things the right way.
Team Ghost’s wares are nothing if not easy to absorb. Opening track Lonely, Lonely, Lonely immediately engages the ear with a contemplative, synthetic crescendo that stops tantalisingly short of a climax before A Glorious Time unleashes a bombastic dirge that sounds like Nada Surf with a thick French accent, its repeated “Leave it all behind you” refrain surely every bit as haunting as its creators could have hoped.
Sur Nous Les Etincelles Du Soleil, however, then engages a shimmering drone – safe and familiar territory for Fromageau, you’d expect – whilst not quite engaging the ear, and it’s hard to not to feel ever so slightly disappointed. Echoes then redeems with a moody impression of the aforementioned The xx, while Only You Can Break My Heart crashes into earshot with some exemplary, Longcut-style post-rock.
Colours In Time and Deaf round out the EP: the former a thudding, glitchy, sombre number that seems to channel Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu‘s darker moments; the latter reading like a Gallic take on Wilco‘s paranoid masterpiece Spiders (Kidsmoke).
And so it seems that while Team Ghost’s debut offering is a more accessible creation than many of the more obtuse, leftfield offerings released under the M83 banner, Fromageau’s new-found penchant for listenability has not diluted his credibility. While You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me EP To Me is not perfect, it would appear to represent a step in an exciting new direction.