Still slightly under the radar. North Street Air, the third album from Holiday Ghosts came out last Friday but escaped my notice until now. I loved their previous records. They chimed completely with my own tastes. Down at heel late Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers and Kinks played at you with warmth, humour, sincerity and beatnik charm in a small room above a cool pub.
Since their last album the band have moved base from Falmouth to Brighton but the switch doesn't seem to have impacted on their basic modus vivandi. North Street Air doesn't really change the line of attack, but refines it somewhat, they're definitely getting better at what they do.
Essentially a core duo, Katja Rackin and Sam Stacpoole, who pick up new members to flesh them out as a quartet from time to time. This never leads them to miss their stride stylistically. They have a clear vision and this new record is as clear a realisation of it as they've come up with thus far.
North Street Air, has an assurance and flow that reminds me of a lot of bands that I love. Early Clean and Go Betweens. The bunch of pioneers of this sensibility that I mentioned above. Holiday Ghosts embody a certain independent guitar driven insouciance, a beat spirit that's been detectable since the Fifties or probably before, a conviction that much of what's really interesting in society lies beyond the mainstream.
I'm very taken by this on first listen and so pleased to hear the band are still chipping away at their particular seam of Rock and Roll. While higher profile young English bands ransack the corpses of The Fall and The Gang of Four with ever diminshing returns, this strikes me as a much more honest approach to our shared musical and cultural heritage, and certainly a much more listenable one.
This band may not ever fully get their due but I'm so pleased that they exist and look forward to them visiting a venue near me one day. They're a night at the funfair, rich with small, affordable and pleasurable joys. North Street Air, should more than do me over the coming summer months and beyond.