Ghostfire
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Ghostfire

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"MICK MERCER WEBLOG"

Here's a band you may like to get into. More lines blur with a band like Ghostfire who call themselves Steampunk, with an inherent understanding of Goth, but also dark indie of the Nick Cave variety, with country blues storytelling also evident. In fact it's weird I mentioned The Galley Slaves the other day who were the absolute masters of lovelorn emotional follies and jollies, with songs packed with characters, as here are Ghostfire coming on like angst-ridden cousins of Frank The Baptist or even a dark version of Flipron. There must be something in the air.

'Vaudevillain' captures a jaunty showmanship, with playfully harrowing intent, and a ricocheting joie de vivre as spindly guitar, anaemic bass and rattling drums scuttle beneath the scampering, seedy vocals. Also full marks for rhyming demented with tormented. 'Masters Of The Sea' is a more relaxed affair, as silvery guitar flicks around the heavy, vibrant singing, but the stylish, skimpy keyboards can do little to calm the dramatic lyrics and their delivery.

'Ghostways Of Paris' rolls sedately with nimble guitar stretched over the ticking rhythm and confusing words, and there's a lovely mooching dignity to its odd danciness. 'Barrio' is another rousing number with tingling guitar and sturdy rhythmic support for the passionate vocals, which veers off onto a different topic this time, seemingly far from the 'debauched decadence' they swear by. I also didn't quite get the Steampunk aspect, but regardless of such confusion these are pulsating songs and an indication of real talent.

Head's up!
- Mick Mercer


"STEAMPUNK MAGAZINE"

Proudly flying the flag for British steampunk music, Ghostfire’s debut EP is a cracker. Next to Abney Park’s romantic airship pirates, this group of Londoners is the silver-tongued opium storyteller and sideshow carouser.

The music is driven by the drums and bass guitar, with competent lead guitar showing touches of Iron Maiden and electric folk, and organ from a mid-sixties blues band. It sounds like it’s coming out a sweaty pub of ledger clerks and coal men drinking hard to escape their day’s toil in the crowded streets of Victorian London.

The lyrics imply a story without ever telling it, following threads of what might be metaphor, might be mythology, or might be the free-association of the freakshow peddler as he stands in front of his crowd.

The opening track, “Vaudevillian,” is a burlesque number which ties the heroine to the train tracks while twiddling its moustache. “Masters of the Sea” and “Ghostways of Paris” are full of that rhythm section, making a deep engine throb with lead guitar and organ highlights and lyrics which are both sinister and pleading. The closing track, “Barrio,” is a dark but charged wil o’ the wisp, promising enlightenment if you stray from the path.

Unmistakably British and unmistakably steampunk, the only complaint one could raise would be the length of the EP: four tracks is enough to whet the appetite, but leaves you wanting so much more. - Steampunk Magazine


"ELECTRIC SPECTRE WEBLOG"

Steampunk is a slippery concept. At once literary tradition, design style and fashion statement. And now, increasingly - music genre. But how does a band capture and create the sound of a time that never existed? How can you classify something as Steampunk when your source material is disparate fiction? Well, you just do it and see what happens…

And until now I never really agreed with any band calling themselves Steampunk. Abney Park, although awesome are a little too electronic, Unextraordinary Gentlemen, too experimental and Thomas Truax, well he’s kind of odd.

But now there is Ghostfire who sound like what would happen if you stuck The Cure, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a steam organ and Tom Waits into a blender, dressed the result in brass goggles, top hats and told them to entertain a drunken punk crowd.

That laboured metaphor can boil down to three words – ‘they sound fantastic’.

It’s the kind of thing the common people would listen too in a Steampunk setting. After a hard day building airships, the workforce would return to gin soaked taverns and be entertained by something sounding a lot like this.

Demo opener Vaudevillain is a ska-tinged, beer soaked sing-along about vampires (I think), that shows off singer Steven’s powerful and unique vocals, Masters of the Sea is a haunted shipwreck of a song. Ghostways of Paris is a gothic absinthe-nightmare in lace and leather and demo closer Barrio – possibly the weakest song in comparison – is still a jarring-jaunty slab of romantic darkness.
Praises don’t get sung much higher than this. Steampunk just got its official sound.
- Electric Spectre


"PURE RAWK MAGAZINE"

Blimey, this is a bit bloody weird. You’ve heard of Pirate Metal, well this is Victorian Rock ‘n’ Roll. Yes, Victorian. Ghostfire have been described as the ‘sound of Steampunk’, which is I suppose one way of putting it.

As you can imagine, being notionally based a century before rock ‘n’ roll was invented, Ghostfire pay very little attention to conventions, opening this EP with the ska-tinged, kind of rockabilly but not really, Vaudevillian. And just in case you might’ve got your head round that, it’s followed by Nick Cave singing sea shanties in Masters of the Sea.

This is a delightfully messy mix of folk, rock, shanty and dark threatening pop, with dashes of Bad Seeds, Bryan Ferry and Vincent Vincent and The Villains, mixed up with some surf-rock guitars and plenty of Hammond organ sounds.

Don’t try and understand this one, just go with it and see what happens.
- Pure Rawk


"ORGAN"

We're just going to tell you about the very, very best once a week. No more time for the average; only the most exciting. We're very, very selective - when we tell you it's good then it really is goooooooood...

(GHOSTFIRE) are calling themselves a Steampunk band, are they the first ones to adopt it here in England? Not sure if they really are? Everything we’ve seen of this Steampunk thing points at Little Trophy or maybe Silvery and their Victorian HG Wells top hats and tales of silvery little trophies.

Not that it matters, Ghostfire are good. Torch songs for something or other; folk-edge dark indie-goth that does have a touch of the New Model Army defiance to it. I guess there is a touch of the Victorian fairground gone a little bit wrong about them, all kinds of follies and vaudevillian jauntiness. Rattling and spinning and wretched tales of the power and glory...

Okay, we’ll go with it then, rousing Steampunk and bits of Nick Cave drama and the whole idea of Steampunk and smoke-stack wide-gauge adventures in hot air balloons and romantic technology…
- Organ


"ROCK PULSE"

First we got this via email, one day after the EP was sent:

I really want to say that I get sent a fair chunk of... for lack of a better word, shit. But I was goddamn amazed with your EP, I've been reviewing music since the start of the year and I've built up a large collection of EPs and albums from not so well known bands and your four tracks are some of the best material I've heard. Thanks for keeping a bored man occupied, a good review is assured.
Mark MacQueen - Rock Pulse

Then we got this a few days later, on the site:

It's not uncommon these days to hear indie bands try and pull off a basic sound with confident/cocky lyrics (Larrikin Love, Foals and so on...), but rarely ever am I wowed by them. Ghostfire, a self-proclaimed 'steampunk' band, have managed to pull off the above mentioned style and so much more!

Ghostfire regale us with tales of a time of seediness and sin, to be more specific, the 1880s. For those of you with good taste in television, you will automatically think of Deadwood. The bold yet relaxed guitar melodies that appear in the majority of tracks will remind many of the Bubba Ho-Tep soundtrack.

Opening with 'Vaudevillain', a western ska tone leads us in the slightly comical yet very refined vocals. Power and greed seem to be the subject of this highly playful and slightly sinister track.

It's only when 'Masters of the Sea' kicks that I am reminded of this 'steampunk' genre, but this is only because the vocal style sounds very similar to Jello Biafra, if Jello were to be put in acoustic mode and made to wear a cowboy hat.
'Ghostways of Paris' is perhaps the finest track off the EP, very soothing and brilliantly passionate, in a silently angry way. I really am disappointed that this isn't an album, four songs just isn't enough. 'Barrio' is a fine track to end on; it's quite similar to 'Ghostways...' but contains a lot more sorrow within its lyrics and tone.

I really can't sing this band's praises enough, a unique sound is highly apparent and your attention will never fade from the music. 9/10
Mark MacQueen – Rock Pulse
- Rock Pulse


"GUESTLIST MAGAZINE"

Rock music has evolved throughout the years and seems to have uncovered layers and layers of what is underneath the genre’s umbrella. It isn't any surprise that the UK is chalked full of great indie music that takes more and more chances then anything we really get the chance to hear in the states. Case in point; Ghostfire. Their new 4-song EP is full of chances and depth just waiting to be uncovered. They don't stick to one style or another, but rather just play music the way that they want to play it, no questions asked. Examples; the ska tinged "Vaudevillain" allows you to see an upbeat side to this band as they fuse together influences of ska with moody pop and with the rough around the edges vocals you will tend to compare to someone like the Voodoo Glow Skulls, however that comparison ends there. As you dig through the EP you will stumble upon songs like "Masters of the Sea", a shanty of sorts, or "Ghostways of Paris," a song which sees them embracing their surroundings and presenting a moody, pop driven rocker a la influences like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The prominent use of the Hammond organ on this song as well as throughout the EP adds a darker feel to the songs that can best be classified as alternative. The styles presented here are comparable to other artists as we've done above, but Ghostfire is a band that presents their music in an unconventional way, helping them to be unique in an over crowded scene. Dive into these four tracks knowing that from song to song you will be peeling back the layers of who this band is and you can expect to hear touches of folk, rock, pop, and more. (JK) - Guestlist


"DEN IN THE LIVING ROOM"

I’m allowed my indulgences. My latest is Ghostfire, a self-styled steampunk band with an utterly horrible MySpace page (LGT to it and it’s a sod to turn the music off, so you may want to mute your speakers). The lyrics are good but not great, but that’s no sin. The rhythm section gives a constant chugging engine and the lead guitar and organ add well-played and sympathetic augmentation. It’s a sound I’m utterly in love with.

I’ve been having a discussion at the Gaslamp Bazaar about what might go into steampunk music. My contention is that it should sound hand-made and by people who understand their instruments and understand that it’s about embracing the dirty innards of the machine making it beautiful. It’s not about sequences and synthesizers and sounding like any other darkwave or electronica band while singing about airships and wearing goggles. Ghostfire sound like people who agree with me. They sound like people who want to explore their instruments and work with them, not hide behind computer-generated sounds and tie themselves to pre-recorded samples. Music is about performing, not reproducing.

I actually brought Ghostfire’s EP. Best three quid I’ve spent in a very long time. They're playing in Lincoln... That'll be me, front-row-centre, screaming like a twenty-nine year old who should know better but stopped caring some time last year.
- Den


Discography

Drunk Lullabies - four track EP is available to buy on the Ghostfire website and streaming both there and on our myspace page. The track 'Vaudevillain' was played by BBC6 on Tom Robinson's 'Introducing' show.

Ghostfire's new single is released in early April and features 'The Last Steampunk Waltz' which has already been played on BBC Cambridge, BBC Three Counties Radio, BBC Essex and other regionals.

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Bio

The music of Ghostfire resonates to the debauched decadence and absinthe-fuelled anarchy of life in the eighties…

The 1880s !

Stalking the cobbled streets; lurking in the shadows of the darkest alleyways... Dare you glance beyond the safety of the guttering gaslights? To where the gin-soaked moxie plies her trade, the dipper watches his mark and the drunken sailor staggers blindly...

It’s this shadowy world of villains, rogues and rascals that Ghostfire calls home.
In the darkest corners of the flash taverns, we raise glasses with vagabonds, footpads, pirates and thieves. All seeking sanctuary in the anonymity only notorious London Town can afford...

“Come in and see the whole nightmare…”