Ghost Power ‘Ghost Power’ (Duophonic Super 45s)

Tim Gane gets his groove on Stand by for action! If the opening clatter of this gloriously daffy album doesn’t make you think of some long-lost ‘Thunderbirds’ spin-off, with jerky Tim Gane and Jeremy Novak puppets waiting to be launched into the pop stratosphere in a rocket made from 1960s cornflakes packets, then you’re clearly in the pay of The Hood. Or whichever dastardly arch-villain is attempting to stamp out such life-affirming musical missions from their secret base inside a dormant volcano.

Imagine Barry Gray joining the Radiophonic Workshop in 1965 and asking Dick Mills to beef up his barking, brassy theme tunes with backwards tape loops of bubbles being blown through glasses of Corona Cream Soda. Yep, it’s that good. The album opener ‘Asteroid Witch’ – released as a single back in 2020 – is the call to arms here, its ‘Joe 90’ bassline punching through waves of twangy guitars, fearless paradiddles and the strident parping of some ancient studio organ. Was there ever a ‘Thunderbirds’ hero called Vox Continental? There should have been.

From there onwards, it’s spy movie madness galore. Gane and Novak, of course, both have previous form in boldly battling the forces of dullness. Gane with Stereolab and, latterly, Cavern Of Anti-Matter, whose 2018 soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s ‘In Fabric’ now feels like Ghost Power’s moodier older brother. Novak, meanwhile, was one-half of 1990s US retro-futurists Dymaxion. They claim to have largely worked remotely, in Berlin and New York respectively, but it’s hard to hear heroic anthems like ‘Lithic Fragment’ and ‘Panic In The Isles Of Splendour’ without imagining the pair of them kicking back in adjacent egg chairs, sipping daytime Martinis in close proximity to a wide selection of black polo necks.

The fun literally never stops. ‘Zome Primer’ boasts seductive harpsichords. Is there any other kind of harpischord? ‘Vertical Section’ is a riot of sexy, squelchy synths. And the 15-minute finale, ‘Astral Melancholy Suite’, soundtracks an epic journey through deep space via Joe Meek’s ‘I Hear A New World’ and a blanket of vintage bleeps and swirls that gently fade into cosmic oblivion. It’s a curiously touching conclusion to an album of unalloyed delights. Ghost Power are GO!

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