Review: Signal Hill – Chase The Ghost

Call it post-rock, post-Mogwai or whatever you desire but there should always be time given to guitar-based instrumental albums which ache like there’s no tomorrow. Signal Hill’s ‘Chase The Ghost’ is one such  album and here the NYC/LA-based band pile layer upon layer of sad melody into the mix, to such an extent that one almost feels spoiled listening to it.

Signal Hill Album Cover

That’s not to say the music is over-saturated in melody as there real moments of subtlety to be found, such as when ‘Imaginary Friend #2’ is introduced by warm keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Labradford record. Meanwhile, jazzy textures underscore ‘Van Gogh Sky’. To begin with,’The Fantastic Hours’ is a delightful partnership of circling percussion and chiming melody and the gorgeous ‘Collide Us’ is festooned with melancholic layers of guitar hooks. In a similar manner to The Workhouse, though, ‘Corners’ is arguably the centrepiece; it seems to teeter on the edge of something dramatic for four minutes before finally exploding into glorious walls of noise.

Signal Hill are said to have emerged from Los Angeles’ so-called “urban sprawl” but there is something very warm and intimate in these complex tracks which speak of sadness and hope in equal measure. Originality-wise, it’s fair to say the quartet don’t exactly rewrite the post-rock rule book but this is a glorious return to addictive instrumental music.

Web Sites:
Sun Sea Sky Label and Shop Site
Bandcamp Stream for Signal Hill’s ‘Chase The Ghost’

Further Listening:
This Is A Process Of A Still Life, The Workhouse, Labradford, Raymond Scott Woolson

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