The debut album from Canadian duo Ghost Twin is a bold bit of solid synthpop that is hopefully the beginning of something very big. The combination of dark-tinged stomping synthwave and guitar with a languid and lilting female vocal that’s more reminiscent of Maggie Reilly, Maddy Pryor or Kate Bush than of the normal synthpop vocal fayre works well throughout.
Tracks like “Blue Room” and Plastic Heart has a relentless, slightly teutonic single-chord thump to them, but this is mixed in with gentler set-ups like “The Haunt”, which beautifully holds back an uplifting chord change until halfway through in a very deft bit of songwriting. A similar trick makes “Not Our Time” a complex melting pot of different emotions.
Over the course of 11 tracks the energy level rarely drops, and as is so common on pop albums the second half isn’t quite as strong as the first, with the formula just beginning to show signs of wearing thin by “Mystic Sabbath” and “Evermore”. The male vocals on “Into Oblivion” lack the punch of their female counterparts. Considering it’s a debut album though, this tailing off effect is surprisingly minimal. The traditional ‘ballad at the end’, “Transfigured Heart”, is a strong showcase for the vocal, with the electronics edging back to good effect.
Though it’s a debut, both band members have some experience under their belts in other bands, and it shows. It’s a strong and unusual-sounding bit of dark synthpop with more than its fair share of highlights, and a remarkably strong debut album that means Ghost Twin are ones to watch.