Pet Ghost Project (which is, in reality, a young man named Justin Stivers) begins like a sonic aeroplane taking off: With a building collection of noise that swells, gradually getting louder and busier. This is one of my pet peeves, I should mention: Records with pretentious openings. But just when I think this first song (titled, “Drunk and Smiling at Heaven”) is about to crash into the second track, as these types of “get ready intros” almost always do, it suddenly implodes, like fireworks, leaving behind a few seemingly random plucks of guitar strings. So what I learn, from the jump, is that PGP is not your average album.
The record is noisepop (or noiseindierock, if such a category exists) at its best. Each song is loaded with crunch and grind but there’s enough hook and harmony that it doesn’t descend into the kind of blaring that annoys even the most tolerant of parents. Songs creep around inside the collages of sound, struggling to be heard inside the din.
The album doesn’t always hit the mark (but it does so more than it doesn’t). As is the case with most single-creator records of this genre, it can be self-indulgent at times, and seem like pure nonsense at others. “Mature,” for example, starts strong but goes on way too long, and the lyrics are awkward to the point of rambling. But happily it’s folowed by “Everybody Knows,” a smart little ditty clocking in at just one second over a minute, and asks the most Pink Floyd of questions, “Everybody knows who you are/and the thoughts that show/through the cracks and spaces between/is it your life or a machine?” I also really enjoyed track 7, “I Throw Away Pennies,” a psychedelic shoegazey fuzz jam. This is a cool record by an artist who, I hope, will continue to grow as a musician. He contacted us directly and asked for a post, and I love it when I discover guys like this.
Here’s to hearing more from Pet Ghost Project.