Ghouls – Run

Okay, let’s start from the top on this one – last week for the first time in 3 years my wife and I went to the local ‘punk’ club Bang, I honestly never thought I’d be going there again after it gave us glandular fever last time and it’s full of 18 year olds. Then, yesterday my wife gets a heads up from England that there is a UK band she would probably like playing Bang this upcoming weekend… now it looks like we’re going two weeks in a row.

That band is Ghouls, and they seem to play mid 2000’s pop punk but mix it up with some ska, it’s pretty cool. Every time I hear the word “ghoul” I can’t help but smile because it reminds me of the all-time funniest episode of TV (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) when Charlie lists “Ghouls” as his only like in a dating video – man I hope that’s where they took their name from. The album cover isn’t really what I’d expect from a band called Ghouls, but as a photo of some running shoes in a changing room I guess it meets expectations for an album called “Run” – looking back at their previous albums “Great Expectations” (1&2), those album covers appear more suitable for their band name.

Anyway into the album review after only hearing it through maybe one or two times while at work today. The album opens up with “Seasonal Affective” a poppy and fun guitar riff leads into a song that you could absolutely dance to. I enjoy a quality lyric and as an engineer who deals with far too much with ‘specifications’ I love the line in this song “I want to be with the girl who’s make believe, I don’t know who she is but with these specifications she just can’t exist”. Every time this song starts to settle into repetition it seems to kick back out to the super poppy riff which is a massive pick-me-up and makes for good times. The second song, “Autophobia” introduces the horn section of the band for the first time as what I’m going to say is a trombone (? Someone will correct me) helps to open up the song. This one isn’t particularly ska but just knowing the horn section is there gives a good feeling as we progress further into the album.

The horn section is in full effect by the time the third song, “Better Places” rolls around kicking off with what I believe this time to be a saxophone (?) what almost sounds like a marching band tune and damn its addictive. Lyrically this one seems to be about falling into a dull relationship just because it is the easier thing to do – but the real draw card is the music, it’s an absolute banger. The saxophone is out again for “Facebook Friend” and I’m not sure if it’s the instrument itself or the way this band are using it but the sounds that thing can make are just brilliant. As a person who is high and mighty about deleting Facebook over a year ago, this is probably my favourite song on the album after a few listens. The song is about how hard it is to avoid ex-partners after a breakup in the era of Facebook as the singer recounts “repeat the line again – that part you said about staying friends. But I won’t see you again, you’re just another Facebook friend […] just another random text I’ll ignore”.

For anyone familiar with my reviews it wouldn’t come as a surprise that my favourite song on the album is the one that starts off, slow, acoustic and full of passion. The beginning of “Expect Greater Things” is almost like Ducking Punches crossed with Apologies, I have None, crossed with Slowly Slowly. The quiet acoustic guitar takes a backseat to the singers raw, passionate and emotional vocals as he sings out “living was a problem with you, ‘cause everything I’ve ever said is something you’ve done, something you’ve already read. I’m not good enough, you’ve had it much better, much better before”. The song continues to recount a competitive relationship, intimate or otherwise, where “everything I’ve ever done, you’ve done better – and every place I’ve been, you’ve been there before” and I can absolutely relate with a past friendship built on belittling and comparing since primary school (here’s looking at you, Saunders). As the song introduces electric instruments and builds in volume it concludes on the amazing lyrics “now I’m giving up, are you giving up better? I think it’s better you did”.

Honestly, I didn’t expect too much going into this album but I’m very glad I gave it a listen and happy with my decision to review it. The review may be a bit half- baked put together after only a few listens but the album becomes more and more addictive with more listens. Ghouls really show that they can meld genres and transition between pop punk, ska and acoustic with a smattering of punk throughout. I’m now really looking forward to seeing these guys play Bang! This weekend.


Matt Power
5 April 2018

Full Disclosure

Feeling Tired
Drinking Coffe (x1)
Recent Listening Billy Talent
How I Listened Sony XBA-3 Headphones

Artist Ghouls
Album Run
Released 5 May 2017
Label 1471 Records
Tracks 8
Run Time 34 minutes
Genre Pop Punk/Ska Punk